Back to School: The Pursuit of Financial Literacy

Do you feel more financially literate?

It’s a valid question—we’re at the end of Financial Literacy Month, designated as such by the government. So has it worked? Have Washington and the all the state capitals involved moved us to make things better?

Let’s start with the designation itself. Everything about the government is byzantine, of course, and even something as innocuous as encouraging people to become more money-savvy is no exception. Turns out this initiative was actually by a non-profit group back in 200, and the U.S. Senate signed on to a youth-oriented version in 2003, although by that time at least eight states already had their own version. A few years later, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling took up the cause.

In 2006, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, backed by a lengthy roll call of government agencies and departments, delivered a comprehensive study titled Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy. Supported by reams of data and credible subject matter experts, the report lays out a broad series of initiatives and goals that are designed specifically to help individuals enhance their management of financial issues.

The report also serves a perfect snapshot in time, not because it’s obsolete now—in fact, the advice may be even more valid in today’s difficult market—but because it captures the apparent widening gulf between the real and the aspirational. The resources, the desires, and the motives are all there to do things better than we should. And yet. . .

One good example is how much money we put away without spending. The report bemoans the steep decline in this area, pointing out that 35 years earlier, in the mid-’70s, 9.4% of disposable income was set aside for personal savings (some estimates have it even higher.) By 2004, the figure had plummeted to 1.3% (some estimates have it even lower.) Then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan is quoted as saying that while domestic savings will be critically important, actual performance in this area would be dictated by largely by the “behavior of the members of the baby-boom cohort during their retirement years.”

Of course, the year 2006 could be seen as increasingly distant from the dot-com crash at the turn of the century and closer to the financial meltdown that began, at least publicly, in 2008. But where are we now?

Savings got closer to 6% during that period (dubbed the “new frugality”) but went back down to 3.5% late last year. That’s much lower than most retirement groups recommend. In fact, those who get started late in life—say, the age of 45—at the savings game need to put away a good 18% of annual income to assure a comfortable retirement after turning 70.

Can we do this? The current Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, had an interesting take on this before taking the job: As an economist at Princeton University, he theorized that the problem isn’t Americans saving too little, it’s foreigners saving too much. In particular, excess savings by Chinese individuals caused them to lend money to the U.S. at low rates, which effectively financed American consumption and caused a mountain of debt.

Of course, there’s much more to financial literacy than just personal savings—we need a better handle on everything from home mortgages and health insurance to tax rates and student loans. The irony is that all these issues are playing out on a national stage right now, courtesy of the presidential election.

In sum, the information and resources exist for us to learn more and do better. It’s in our own best interest to make the effort. Otherwise, every month—including those dedicated to helping us become more financially literate—will be like the one that came before.

FI Spotlight: Philadelphia Federal Credit Union

As Financial Literacy Month comes to a close, financial institutions and organizations have enacted various campaigns to educate members and customers across America. The Banking.com staff has been closely watching some initiatives including NCUA’s Twitter campaign and the American Bankers Association’s 16th Annual Teach Children to Save Day, and in May we will reveal how our readers endeavored to help their community from our very own poll.

To better understand the community they serve, Philadelphia Federal Credit Union (PFCU) in Pennsylvania revealed the results of its first annual Financial Literacy Survey. The survey researched the financial knowledge of Philadelphia-area residents, taking particular interest in their saving practices, spending habits and financial attitudes. PFCU’s research revealed that more than one-third of Philadelphians are in critical need of improving their financial condition, indicating they were not able to save any money in the past 12 months. Additionally 45 percent of Philadelphia credit card owners typically carry a balance month-to-month and 79 percent of survey respondents were less than “very successful” at spending within their budget in the past year.

As a result of the survey findings, PFCU is ramping up its educational programs and looking to better cater to its current and prospective members. Banking.com spoke with Philadelphia Federal Credit Union’s Accredited Financial Educator Karl J. Bernhard about the survey findings and what they mean for the institution and financial industry at large.

Banking.com (BDC): What survey statistic did you find most surprising, and why?
Karl J. Berndhard (KJB):
I found it most surprising that more than one-third (37%) of Philadelphians were not able to save any money in the past 12 months. This tells me that Philadelphians are in critical need of learning the skills to better manage their money. In response to this finding, PFCU is expanding its free financial education programming now through May 31 to the public in an effort to instill healthy financial habits.

BDC: For Americans and Philadelphians trying to get their financial condition in shape, what small steps can people take to try and improve their financial health?
KJB:
I always say there are five steps you can take to take control of your finances immediately. The simple steps include – create a budget, track spending, open a savings account, check your credit report and then last but not least, take advantage of financial education that is available to you like PFCU’s free seminars on budgeting, saving, and credit.

BDC: What tools and/or services do you offer to your members to help them budget their money?
KJB
: We offer a Budgeting & Credit Seminar on a regular basis to our members that helps them understand the importance of saving and tracking where their money goes. We give them the tools they need to create a realistic budget and manage their credit.

BDC: With the surge in online and mobile banking, do you believe that having tools available to members 24/7 is helping improve their financial literacy and financial health?
KJB:
It’s certainly making the information more available to them and making it easier than ever for people to track their spending. In addition to offering free 24/7 online banking, we plan to have a mobile app up and running before the end of the year. We also recently launched a Facebook and Twitter page and regularly post and tweet financial tips and advice.

BDC: How have your members reacted to the survey findings?

KJB: I think it is human nature to be curious about how other people are doing financially. This survey for better or worse shows Philadelphians that they aren’t alone. Seventy nine percent of Philadelphians haven’t been very successful at keeping spending within their budget during the past twelve months and 84% of Philadelphians surveyed consider themselves less than very knowledgeable about personal finance.  The good news is there are simple steps everyone can take to improve their financial condition and through our financial education seminars we are making a better financial future accessible.

BDC: What do you predict will be the focus of your financial literacy campaigns and annual survey next year?
KJB:
Good question. I think it will be important to continue to take the temperature of Philadelphian’s wellness on an annual basis so that we can be sure our financial education seminars and other services we provide our members are fulfilling their needs and providing the greatest value. Many of the questions we ask Philadelphians will remain the same. Hopefully the results will improve!

You can read more about Philadelphia Federal Credit Union’s survey here or reach out to them on Twitter

How are you helping customers and members to your financial institution? Tweet at @Bankingdotcom or let us know in the comments below.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Send information to info@banking2020.com.

What We’re Reading: Mobile Adoption, Tablet Banking and Mobile Money

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

  • Bank Tech Isn’t Cool — and Banks Know It

American Banker

As banks are well aware, many new software engineers would rather work for Google or a hot new start-up than enter the banking industry. To attract talented new workers and to make sure they are up to speed on the latest trends, banks and technology vendors work closely with universities to help prospective employees develop the right skills before they even look for their first job. “There is completely a growing need that we see across our firm,” to develop and attract new talent in this way, says Jill Pineiro, the global director of JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) corporate development program. JPMorgan Chase developed educational programs with Syracuse University that began in 2008 and the University of Delaware that began in 2010, committing over $30 million over 10 years and $5 million over 5 years, respectively, to groom talent at each institution.

Read more

  • Amazon’s Kindle Fire Heats Up Tablet Banking App Development

Bank Systems & Technology

As tablet computers proliferate, banks continue to race to keep up with new tablet banking options. In March, both Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America and New York-based Citi released mobile applications developed specifically for the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. The announcements were made little more than a week apart. The Citibank Kindle Fire Edition app features many of the same rich graphics and interactivity that the bank’s Apple iPad app offers, including in-depth personal financial management tools and interactive charts, as well as access to financial education resources and Citibanl’s real-time Twitter customer support. But while the tablet apps are similar, the bank stresses that the new app was designed exclusively for the Kindle Fire, “with every component, graphic, touch action, button and slider customized to the tablet’s modified operating system, form factor, screen size and resolution,” according to a release.

Read more

  • Mobile Adoption Lags Due To Lack Of Marketing

Credit Union Journal

Financial institutions are not adequately promoting their mobile banking offerings, according to ath Power Consulting, a provider of financial services research and customer experience strategy development. The firm said its “2012 ath Power Mobile Banking Study” also found remote deposit capture is the missing feature most sought by bank customers. The national study ranked customer satisfaction with today’s mobile banking offerings, with USAA earning the top spot with 73% of its users claiming high satisfaction. “The revenue potential for banks who add compelling features to their mobile offerings could be significant,” noted Frank Aloi, president and CEO, ath Power.

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  • Customized Tools For Small Business Paying Off

Credit Union Journal

Stanford FCU wins the hearts of its “best” members with a trove of custom-built small business products and services-and a vibrant consumer mobile channel that business members seem to love, according to Jim Phillips, SVP and CIO at the $1.4-billion organization here. “All credit unions need to remain relevant by expanding tools for businesses, even if the business is a DBA,” Phillips suggested. “You don’t want to scare off your best members-they’ll go to Chase or BofA with their business account and take their personal account with it.” Business members, representing 10% of the credit union’s total membership, particularly enjoy the ability to manage their business accounts online alongside their personal accounts, he said.

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  • Mobile Banking Set To Explode, Here’s What Marketers Need to Know

The Financial Brand

Two research studies on mobile banking tell financial marketers they need to pay more attention to this critical channel. One study commissioned by the Federal Reserve System examines the increasing impact mobile tools have had on consumers’ banking, budgeting, shopping and payments behaviors. The report titled “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services” presents findings from an online survey with over 2,200 participants, conducted in December 2011 and January 2012. The report explores the use of mobile technologies as a means to access financial services and make financial decisions.

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  • What is the Future of Mobile Money? [Part 1]

ReadWriteWeb

To understand the future of money and transactions, one must understand the nature of currency. Foremost, it is not real. A coin, a paper bill, a debit or credit card hold no value as objects. Currency has always been a form of data. Currency is the first digital revolution, started to turn it into what we now think of as traditional data. That has set us up for the second digital evolution of currency: where mobile technology and the cloud once again change how people make transactions.

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  • How the iPad Is Revolutionizing Local Businesses

ReadWriteWeb

Tablets, especially Apple’s iPad, are increasingly finding homes in restaurants and local businesses. They are changing how businesses conduct transactions and receive customer feedback. In a data-driven world, Main Street retailers are on the verge of a significant evolution. The top POS vendors, such as Aloha, Micros and POSitouch, charge thousands of dollars to restaurants and retailers to set up and maintain these systems.

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  • How B2B Marketers Use Social Media: New Research

Social Media Examiner

Are you wondering, “How does social media work differently for B2B businesses?” In the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Mike Stelzner asked marketers how they’re using social media. Of the B2B marketers who took this year’s survey, over 93% use social media to market their businesses. While that’s slightly below their consumer-focused brethren (95.2%), there’s been a significant increase since the 2010 survey when only 88% of B2B marketers responded affirmatively.

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  • Tablets for mobile banking? Javelin report identifies top three banks

Tab Times

Citibank’s banking app for Amazon’s Kindle Fire got high marks for helping customers analyze their account spending, set goals and budgets. Mobile banking on tablets is booming. A new report says the number of tablet owners engaged in mobile banking is growing at twice the rate of non-tablet owners (49% vs. 22%).  Javelin Strategy & Research says it expects the growth of tablet banking will continue as overall tablet adoption is forecast to grow to 40% by 2016.

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2020 Hindsight: A Look at Cash, Credit and Smartphones in 2020

Who needs cash? Who needs credit cards? They’re so old-school—and frankly so vulnerable to being misplaced or stolen –that they’re an inducement to danger. Fortunately, this is about to change…maybe.

A new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center brings news that mobile payments could all but eliminate the need to carry money or credit cards around. In advanced nations, at least, a majority of consumers will trust their phones and mobile devices to conduct end-to-end transactions.

And when will this happen? In the year 2020. Yes, 2020.

For the record, even that date carries multiple caveats. A strong majority, 65 percent, of the technology experts surveyed for the report signed on to that timeframe. The rest of the respondents disagreed with the premise (there was no middle ground allowed), and contend that this discipline will not gain sufficient traction in the timeframe discussed.

To be sure, the Internet terrain is pockmarked by failures, radical technologies that were designed to fundamentally transform human behavioral patterns and, well, didn’t. There are also plenty of legitimate reasons to doubt the broad-scale adoption of mobile payments.

To start with, not everyone has a smartphone—according to the Federal Reserve, the number is still only 44 percent of the population—and not everyone will anytime soon. Security and privacy concerns have always loomed large, and they will continue to do so.

Besides, consumer fears are not the only impediment to success: Credit card providers, among other business entities involved in the mix, will need to redirect their resources, and that likely won’t happen overnight. Most of them have considerable investments in the existing infrastructures, and a top-to-bottom overhaul probably isn’t on the priority list yet. Even when it does happen, everything from standards and the resulting interoperability to competitive positioning could lead to market fragmentation.

Still, it’s also important to note that however futuristic the concept of mobile payments seems, in some ways it’s already here. Consumers aren’t only using their phones to talk: According to other recent Pew Internet studies, 10 percent of Americans have used their phones to donate to charity via text message, more than a third use them for online banking, and almost half, 46 percent, have used a mobile app to, well, buy another mobile app.

Other research backs this up too, and retail seems a particularly active area. Analyst firm comScore reports that not only have 38 percent of smartphone owners used their devices to make buy products, but half the U.S. smartphone user base has gone online to look up deals while they’re inside a brick-and-mortar outlet, and nearly one in five even scanned barcodes.

As for the ‘advanced nations only’ argument, here’s another nugget cited in the Pew report: Users of Kenya’s M-Pesa system now send money amounting to 20 percent of the country’s entire GDP via text message.

For all Internet prognosticators, the reality is that this might be yet another area where we don’t know what will happen, or more importantly when. There are statistics and anecdotes to back up virtually any hypothesis, just as many changes have blindsided even the most accurate analysts.

The groundwork for a radical transformation has been laid. While there are certainly standards issues to work through, particularly at the back end, many of the tools needed to change payment habits are already in place. There’s a new generation that can’t remember a world without iPhone and iPad apps for everything. And some emerging mobile technologies have allowed business and consumers alike in developing markets to leapfrog landline infrastructures.

It may be that 2020 is the year of mass mobile payments. It may, as some analysts claim, take more time than that. But let’s not be surprised if it takes less.

Infographic: Merchant Funded Reward Programs, An Introduction

Mindful Insights recently published an infographic highlighting the details and companies behind merchant funded reward (MFR) programs. Take a look at the graphic below to get an overview of how MFR programs work and what it takes to deliver a successful program.

 

 

What We’re Reading: Fin-Tech Startups, Small Business Bankers and Mobile Payments

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

  • In Middle America, Amber Waves of Fin-Tech Startups

American Banker

Financial technology startups dot the landscape like grain silos mark the surrounding farmland. In Silicon Prairie, mobile payments, online banking and core banking services are the new cash crop. The geographic triangle drawn around Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Mo., (one of several regions to share the Silicon Prairie name) has been a technology powerhouse for decades. But in the past five years that trend has accelerated, with numerous new companies taking root there to help retail banks keep ahead of technology trends, even amid the recession.

Read more

  • The Future of Banking Could Include Palm Reading

American Banker

The future of branch banking might involve palm reading. For 2012, that means using palm technology to verify identities at an automated teller machine and not a mystical, soothsaying woman telling you that you’ll be married three times. The technology is found in prototypes of new branch technology at consulting firm Accenture’s financial services innovation centers across the world. Accenture on Thursday partnered with Filene Research Institute to give attendees at a credit union conference in Chicago insight into how branches will operate in the digital age. Although the conference was for credit unions, there were plenty of takeaways for banks.

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  • Resurgence for Small Business Bankers

Barlow Research Analyst’s Journal

Last year at this time, Barlow Research reported that the branch staff was the glue holding together the small business banking relationship. During 2010, a greater percentage of small businesses with sales of $100,000 to <$10 million that selected the branch manager as their primary contact was very satisfied with their bank compared to those selecting an account officer. At that time, branch managers were more accessible, followed up on requests and understood the company’s objectives compared to account officers. To be released in May, Barlow’s 2012 Small Business Banking Annual Report again analyzed customer evaluations of the branch manager and the account officer.

Read more

  • It’s not just Instagram. The ‘app economy’ is taking off.

Christian Science Monitor

Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of smartphone app Instagram is just the tip of the iceberg. Apps represent a $20 billion industry employing nearly 500,000 people. Three years ago, frustrated in his search for a summer job, Valparaiso University senior Cameron Banga decided to try less traditional work: writing apps. The result? A battery-monitoring application for the iPhone called Battery Go!

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  • The Missing Tab at Banking Websites

Net Banker

You can debate whether branches are dead or simply need a good pruning. But, there is no argument about the importance of a well-designed website where prospective customers can learn about what you have to offer. Financial institutions do a good job showcasing products, rates, and available accounts. But shoppers, especially ones not already familiar with you, want to understand what it’s like to bank with you and whether you’ll be there for them if there’s a problem.

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  • A Bank Account That Helps Pay Off Student Loans

New York Times

A new online bank aims to help graduates reduce their student debts, by paying rewards when they use their debit cards. SmarterBank, an offering from SimpleTuition Inc., was introduced this month to help students and families save on educational expenses. SmarterBank isn’t actually a bank, but it offers banking functions through the Bancorp Bank, which provides the plumbing for various online financial services companies. “Increasingly, over the last year or so, the new problem in student lending is helping graduates find a way to manage repayment of their loans,” Kevin Walker, chief executive of SimpleTuition, said in a phone interview.

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  • Digitizing your personal finance life

Reuters

Have you emerged yet from the mountain of receipts and financial statements you need to sort and calculate to complete your tax return? And is paper already piling up or 2012? Americans spent an average 22 hours last year filling out tax forms. Even at the office, we spend an average 30 minutes a week hunting for paperwork, according to Brother International. A bad organizational system – or no system – is both time-consuming and costly.

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  • Pew: 65% of experts say most people will adopt mobile payments by 2020

VentureBeat

There’s no doubt that mobile payments are generating plenty of hype among the tech community, but how long will it be until they go mainstream? 65 percent of experts surveyed by the Pew Research Center agreed with a statement that said mobile payments would take off by 2020, according a new report released today, “The future of money: Smartphone swiping in the digital age.” 33 percent of experts agreed with a more negative statement, which said that consumers wouldn’t trust mobile payments to replace cash and credit cards by 2020. It’s worth noting that those surveyed only had two scenarios to choose from, so there’s additional complexity to consider from the experts. Most of those who said mobile payments will take off, for example, also said that cash and credit cards won’t disappear entirely. Consumers hoping for anonymity, or those simply refuse to change, will likely stick with current methods.

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  • Credit union attracts younger members with free tunes

Washington Post

Take your pick: Three percent interest on your checking account or $10 in iTunes downloads every month. It was an easy choice for Tim Klapac, 20, who opted for the latter. The College Park resident says his iTunes library has grown to include nearly 800 songs since he signed up for the Kasasa Tunes program at Money One Federal Credit Union a year ago. “Online purchases are huge for people my age, and this is just so convenient,” Klapac said. Largo-based Money One began offering the Kasasa Tunes program nearly two years ago in hopes of attracting younger members.

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Lean Startup Lesson: Three Ways to Engineer Growth

There’s more than one way to grow a business. The tricky part for most startups is identifying one growth lever that works and specializing in that. In this interview Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, speaks to Intuit Vice President of Design Innovation Kaaren Hanson about three key ways that businesses can engineer growth.

This is the seventh installment of a new series where Intuit leaders, including CEO Brad Smith, Founder Scott Cook and Vice President of Design Innovation Kaaren Hanson will sit down with author Eric Ries to expand on some of the themes in his best-selling book The Lean Startup.

For more information on Ries, go to http://theleanstartup.com/.

*Originally posted on the Intuit Network. You can watch more of the series here.

Reality Check

In case you missed it, Google released a video last week showing off their new augmented reality glasses. Pretty neat stuff. And now according to American Banker, the glasses can be utilized for financial services.

So far PNC Bank is the only financial institution to offer a use for the augmented reality device — a bank and ATM finder. Pretty handy really, but I am having a hard time seeing how this is much of an improvement over a map on a smartphone or tablet. Do we really need to walk around with a cyborg-like eyepiece and display?

Google should be concentrating on getting Google Wallet off the ground. Launching 10 more Sprint phones supporting Google Wallet at Mobile World Congress was a good start. Previously only the Nexus S 4G offered the required NFC infrastructure. When coupled with the need for retailers to commit to the system as well, the outlook was pretty hazy.

Google did just acquire TxVia, the mobile payments tech company, in theory to shore up the much-criticized security issues hampering the wallet. It’s safe to say Google is not yet ready to abandon the mobile payments ship despite earlier rumors that Google is shelving the project amid all the competition.

And, let’s face it, mobile payments are very popular lately with everyone and their mother trying to get in on the action. PayPal, the incumbent in the online payment space, recently released a card reader aimed at merchants. Called PayPal Here, it was a direct shot across the bow of mobile payments leader Square, and their dongle.

Perhaps some futuristic glasses are just what Google needs to propel them to success in mobile payments. They are creating at least a little buzz in an otherwise dry and jargon-filled market. The glasses actually make a lot of sense in an urban setting, where the real-time information would be most helpful. And let’s be honest, anything would be an improvement over people walking around staring down into their smartphone.

To summarize: we now have a battle royale brewing that includes software, cellphone, banking, and other technology companies; executives bouncing around between competitors; and new players entering the fracas (Tappmo, founded by ex-Google Wallet engineers, to name one).

By the time this is posted the landscape will most likely have shifted again. Don’t forget about Facebook either. They’ve been mentioned on this blog before as another army in the payment war.

It will be interesting to see what partnerships are formed to try to gain an upper-hand in this scrum.

No one knows how long the mobile payments war will drag out and who will be left standing. Or, if they will use augmented reality glasses, a dongle, a camera or some other newfangled, yet to be invented, device to dominate the mobile payments market.

As it stands right now, I’ll take augmented reality glasses over another dongle any day.

About David Sutton: David has a BA in economics and a MS in business journalism, and his articles have appeared on Forbes.com and in the Boston Business Journal. David has had a bank account since he was three.

What We’re Reading: Social Media Struggles, Postal Reform and the Cost of a Tweet

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

  • Obama Signs Law Easing Access to Credit for Small Banks, Businesses

American Banker

President Obama signed legislation Thursday that will remove impediments faced by some small banks and other businesses as they seek to raise new capital. The law passed Congress with strong bipartisan support, overcoming a late backlash from consumer groups and some congressional Democrats who say that it will weaken investor protections and open the door to more financial fraud. During a Rose Garden signing ceremony, Obama did not address that criticism, though he did warn congressional Republicans who were in attendance that the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to get proper funding from Congress. Obama’s remarks focused largely on America’s legacy of entrepreneurialism — he invoked the names of Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg — while touting the law’s crowd-funding provisions, which will allow start-up companies to raise money online from small investors.

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  • Banks Have Big Stake in Battle Over Postal Reform

American Banker

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the banking industry relies on the post office more than any other sector of the U.S. economy. More than half of all statements and bills sent through the mail come from banks, savings and loans, and credit unions, according to the U.S. Postal Service. And those 4 billion or so mailings per year are matched by roughly the same number of advertising offers from credit-card issuers. That leaves banks with a big stake in the debate on Capitol Hill over how to reform the Postal Service, which has suffered a sharp drop in revenue as a result of the recession and rapid changes in technology.

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  • SaveUp.com to stash cash, win prizes

Chicago Sun Times

Would you take a bribe? To do the right things? Things like saving and paying down your debt? That’s part of the interesting psychology behind SaveUp.com — a free website that lets you earn a shot at cash and other prizes, just for doing the right thing. The concept has taken off since the site was launched Nov. 1, 2011. In less than six months, SaveUp users have deposited $25,752,249.51 into their savings and paid down $22,278,973.93 in debt.

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  • Sobering Stats: Brands Struggle For Engagement In Social Media

TheFinancialBrand.com

Take a quick tour around the web and you’ll find no shortage of social media junkies and innovation addicts listing the myriad of things financial institutions could do in social channels. While they pound the drum of “potential and possibilities,” financial marketers are seldom (if ever) offered any hardcore stats on actual rates of engagement. We are constantly reminded that there are 850 million users on Facebook, and many believe that fact alone should persuade marketing managers of social media’s power. But that number only represents 12.4% of the world’s population, and (of course) you probably aren’t targeting the entire world. In the US, for instance, around 150 million people, or about half the total population, have a Facebook account. So if you have 100,000 customers, you could feasibly reach only 50%. But how many don’t know or don’t care that you have a Facebook page?

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  • Customer Service 2.0: The Importance of Live Chat In Banking

The Financial Brand

For more than 40 years, financial institutions have actively pushed consumers into to self-service channels — from phone banking and ATMs decades ago, to online and mobile banking today. As banks and credit unions have been busy implementing one technology after another, something got lost along the way: personal interactions. The internet’s overall affect on banking has been generally positive. However, banking consumers today have less stake with financial institutions. The relationship is missing, so they see their bank as disembodied (at best), and potentially untrustworthy (at worst).

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  • Advantages of banking at credit unions

MarketWatch

As big banks have been hammered over the past couple of years, many consumers have turned to credit unions and community banks as alternatives. Why? Mainly because they were financially healthier, not to mention more focused on customer service. During a recent trip to Washington, D.C., he had the opportunity to sit down with Bill Myers, director of the Office of Small Business Credit Union Initiatives for the National Credit Union Administration.

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  • Yodlee launches new mobile services for FIs

Mobile Payments Today

Yodlee is getting in on the growing mobile P2P market. The Silicon Valley company, a technology and mobile banking provider for financial institutions, recently announced the launch of Yodlee MoneyMovement, an open platform that lets FIs offer services like account-to-account fund transfers, bill payment and P2P payments. “With Yodlee MoneyMovement, we’re extending our reputation as innovators, this time into payments and transactions, enabling faster, safer payments and transfers,” said Yodlee’s SVP of Products, Eric Connors in a statement. Connors said the company designed, built and tested its platform in conjunction with the world’s largest retail banks to be flexible, scalable, and extensible in response to the rapidly evolving payments landscape FIs are competing in now.

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  • “If Facebook Were Built Today, It Would Be a Mobile App”

ReadWriteWeb

James Pearce, head of mobile developer relations for Facebook, likes to point out that “you and your friends don’t always have the same devices” or even use the same mobile platforms. That’s a problem for the company, as it has to support all the major platforms, from Apple iOS to Google Android and beyond – often putting it in the position of benefitting its competitors. But it’s also a huge opportunity for Facebook itself to shape and dominate that common platform. At a small lunch with reporters on the social media giant’s luxe new Silicon Valley campus, Pearce explained that the mobile issue is far from trivial.

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  • How much is a tweet worth? About 1/10,000 as much as a Yelp review

VentureBeat

Tweets, status updates, pins, check-ins: They may seem trivial to you, but they’re valuable content to social networking companies. For example: Next time you make an update in Path, consider that you just helped that company make 50 cents in revenue. Just how much value do you represent to these companies? Backupify, a cloud data backup service, decided to do some quick math.

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The Next Banking Generation: The Mobile Teen

April is Financial Literacy Month, and many organizations and financial institutions are providing information and tips to help consumers take the right steps on money management. One demographic driving numerous campaigns for Financial Literacy Month is the pre-teen and teen demographic, the next banking generation.

A recent infographic developed by Safely shines light on how frequently pre-teens and teens are using mobile devices; 75 percent of 12 – 17 year olds own a cell phone. These teens don’t just have phones to call home in case of emergency — they are heavy mobile users who talk about 835 minutes a month on their phones and receive/send an average of 1,200 texts a month. They are also heavy app users, with an average user downloading 11 apps a month.

As financial institutions and organizations help educate consumers for Financial Literacy Month, it is important to keep in mind the new financial generation is a generation that will approach finances with a mobile perspective. See below for the full information from Safely and more stats on the mobile teen:

How are you helping your financial institution’s youth? Tweet at @Bankingdotcom or let us know in the comments below.