What We’re Reading: Continuity, Mobile Usage and Mobile Commerce

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.

  • Bankers’ Next Storm Challenge: Continuity

American Banker

As Hurricane Sandy starts to make its way inland, bankers from Virginia to Maine have shifted their efforts away from emergency preparedness to focus on post-storm crisis management. The decision to open or close branches took place over the weekend, along with choices on staffing data centers and contacting employees. A number of banks also used social media to inform customers how to set up and use online banking should their branches remain shuttered for several days. Bankers are looking ahead at the coming week with a realization that many of the customers, and some of their branches, could be knocked out of commission for the foreseeable future. The storm’s timing was particularly taxing for banks that process clients’ payroll payments, making that a top priority for some management teams.

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  • Is the ‘Branch of the Future’ Here?

GonzoBanker

The “Social Branch”. The social branch is the model most people immediately associate with the “branch of the future” concept. Queue the tranquil lobby music! This is the open, inviting atmosphere with amenities so abundant that customers will come to hang out, drink free coffee, receive amazing personal service from new account reps floating about the lobby with tablets in hand, and get the fastest service available by tellers perched proudly behind their teller pods. However, for the most part, organizations implementing this concept as a tactic to drive more customers through the door have struggled to justify the effort spent. The social branch is likely to be a hit with FIs in urban markets that have a strong brand and a level of customer loyalty high enough to drive feet through the door for more than just routine transactions. Rural markets will be hard pressed to get this to succeed.

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  • Checking Balances, Viewing Transactions Are Top Mobile Usages, Study Finds

Bank Systems & Technology

The study, conducted for Virtual Hold Technology by The Adcom Group, also found consumers grow increasingly frustrated when problems arise with mobile apps that prevent them from completing a task. Checking on account balances and viewing transaction histories are the most common tasks customers perform in financial mobile apps, according to a study from Akron, Ohio-based Virtual Hold Technology. The study, conducted for Virtual Hold Technology by The Adcom Group, surveyed 600 U.S. smartphone users between May and June on their mobile financial habits. More than 94 percent of those who have downloaded financial smartphone apps said they use them to check account balances, while 90 percent use them to view transaction history. Sixty-five percent of users transfer funds while 60 percent schedule or modify payments or online bill-pay. Only less than 1 percent indicated they use mobile apps to deposit checks, locate ATMs, cash in reward points or send money to others.

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  • Image Processing Tech Limitations Could Stymie New Mobile Banking Apps

American Banker

Financial institutions have been experimenting for a few years with new and creative ways of taking advantage of smartphone cameras to provide mobile banking services. They started with mobile check deposit and have moved on to mobile capture of mortgage documents and drivers’ licenses. But there are factors that limit how widely mobile cameras can be used to advance financial services. Technology analysts say gaps in processing and user interfaces will have to be overcome before mobile image capture can be optimized as a way to expedite myriad types of consumer financial transactions. Bob Meara, a senior analyst at Celent, says adoption of remote deposit capture — or using a smartphone camera to take a photo of a check to facilitate a deposit — has grown quickly after a slow start. But more exotic uses of mobile capture, such as snapping a picture of a bill for mobile bill payment, have not been as popular.  “I would say adoption has been lackluster,” he says. Research from AlixPartners that forecasts mobile photo bill pay adoption could reach 33 percent by 2018.

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  • Tapjoy: M-Commerce to grow 300% by 2015

Biz Report

Mobile is predicted to have a big impact on holiday shopping for 2012, but the bigger picture shows sharp increases in mobile spending over the next three years. According to new data out from Tapjoy mobile commerce (US) could increase by as much as 362% over the next three years. The Tapjoy study further shows: 54% of Tapjoy customers shopped via mobile in the previous six months. 45 million smartphone users looked into the shopping app category (June 2012); nearly half use these apps. On average, smartphone users access shopping apps 17 times per month. 64% of those polled said they would make mobile purchases over the 2012 holidaysWhile ‘on mobile’ users are comparing prices (61%) and accessing promotions/coupons (51%) the most. But, shoppers are also accessing reviews, scanning mobile barcodes and taking product pictures while shopping.

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  • Working To Make ACH Easier To Explain

Credit Union Journal

In 2010, NACHA – The Electronic Payment Association began a new messaging project initiative to develop clear, powerful messaging ensuring a common understanding of the NACHA Operating Rules, the ACH network, and ACH payments. The initiative involved the definition, adoption, and consistent use of industry terminology to explain the ACH network, ACH payments, and their attributes and advantages. The recently launched ACH Messaging Campaign and Microsite are very important from my perspective, because consumers and businesses really still don’t know and understand the ACH network. Numerous tools have been developed to help those in the industry describe ACH payments with clear, consistent terminology.

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