What We’re Reading: Credit Unions, Bank Branches and Square

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.

  • Credit Unions May Gain Mobile Payments Edge with Shared Tech Platform

American Banker

CO-OP Financial Services hopes the model used in one of the oldest staples of credit union cooperation, the shared branch, can drive new digital commerce innovation such as person-to-person payments and mobile remote deposit capture. The country’s largest credit union service organization, with about 1,400 credit union participants in its shared branch program totaling about 4,400 branches, has extended components of the shared branching model to digital commerce, using centralized processing resources to allow credit union consumers to access mobile payments and other digital capabilities.

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  • Online Banking Design Succeeds or Fails on Feedback, Details: Citi’s Weber

American Banker

After Forrester Research dubbed Citi’s online banking site the best in the U.S. last week, we spoke with Tracey Weber, Citigroup’s head of internet and mobile banking and Bank Technology News’ Mobile Banker of the Year for 2012, about the bank’s latest initiatives. Citi partners with Yodlee for PFM and account aggregation. “But I think what we did that was different, and that will lead to a better experience for customers, is the integration of PFM into the online banking dashboards,” Weber says. “Historically PFM capabilities have been somewhere off in a corner of the site.” This echoes comments made by Chris Cox at Regions Financial last week, when he shared how his bank is trying to weave online banking and PFM together.

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  • Banks Take a ‘Swipe’ at Square

BAI Banking Strategies

As the swoosh of the card swipe migrates from the terminal to the tablet or the smartphone thanks to mobile payment devices like Square, banks have decided they want a piece of that action both for the revenue opportunity and to solidify merchant relationships. Unlike other mobile payment schemes, which may require consumers to enter codes or utilize wireless near-field communications, the mobile swipe approach enables them to conduct a payment transaction in the same way that they have at the point-of-sale (POS) terminal for years. The difference: the minimalist technological infrastructure involved in these mobile POS terminals, which are typically a few inches long and attach to an iPhone, iPad or Android, appeals to merchants reluctant to invest in card functionality.

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  • Say goodbye to more bank branches

CNN Money

Banks are killing off branches by the thousands. Overall, banks closed 2,267 branches last year and opened only 1,149, according to research firm SNL Financial. That resulted in a total loss of 1,118 branches nationwide — the highest level since 2005, when the firm began tracking closures.  Looking to cut costs, many banks are aggressively shuttering branches they deem unnecessary and encouraging customers to shift to online and mobile banking instead, said Nancy Bush, a bank analyst and contributing editor at SNL.

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  • Scammers Now Taking The Time To Chat

Credit Union Journal

A new attack scheme is hitting banks and credit unions that takes advantage of the live chat feature in the FIs’ online banking platform, Guardian Analytics reports. The criminals impersonate a member or customer and initiate fraudulent wire transfers. Many have been successful. “It’s difficult to predict how it will spread, but criminals usually stick with what works. When it stops working they find another approach,” said VP of Marketing Tiffany Riley.

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  • Fiserv Study: It’s A Mobile World

Credit Union Times

In its fifth annual study of bill payment habits of U.S. households, Fiserv Inc. found that this is the era of the “omnivore” bill payer – multiple methods are proliferating – but in the fast track is “mobile bill pay. It is growing very fast,” said Eric Leiserson, an analyst. In 2012, 8% of online households paid at least one bill with a mobile device, up from 6% in 2011, per the Fiserv research.

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  • Nacha Establishes Guidelines for Using Bar Codes for Bill Payments

Payments Source

Nacha, the electronic payments association, issued guidelines for the use of quick-response (QR) codes for consumer bill payment. QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can be scanned with a smartphone’s camera to direct users to a website or pull up specific information. The codes are increasingly common in stores and advertisements to direct consumers to product information, and some mobile payment systems use them to present account data.

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  • 5 Financial Accounts You Should Check Every Week

Yahoo! Finance

Individuals should track their weekly expenditures on budget accounting Web sites like Mint.com to get a complete picture of where and how they’re spending that hard-earned cash. These online sites allow users to review their balances and transactions for all accounts – credit cards and retirement accounts included – usually at no extra cost.

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  • What Is a Mobile Wallet?

ZDNet

Mobey Forum, an industry organization established by banks in 2000, is dedicated to encouraging the use of the mobile channel in financial services. Sybase 365, now SAP Mobile Services (and my employer), has belonged to the group since 2006. In the Forum’s most recent quarterly meeting, the 60-plus members couldn’t agree on what a mobile wallet was.

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