What We’re Reading: Unbanked, Twitter, BYOD

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.

 

  • Gruenberg: Cell Phones May Hold Key to Access for Unbanked

American Banker

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. plans to issue a report next year exploring whether cell phones could help draw consumers not served by a bank into the mainstream financial system, the agency’s chief said Thursday. “We want to take a hard look at this issue from the perspective of economic inclusion to try to assess what the potential is here in a careful way of using this technology to expand access,” FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said at a conference hosted by the Consumer Federation of America.

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  • New Twitter Rules Stymie Credit Unions From Promoting Themselves

Credit Union Journal

New rules from Twitter have thrown a wrench in the social media works for some credit unions that want to use promoted posts to break through the clutter and highlight their offerings on the popular social networking site. Peach State FCU entered the social media realm in October with Facebook and Twitter profiles, using promoted posts on each site. (A promoted post pays the site to expose the tweet or post to a larger number of users.) But a recent change to Twitter’s rules sometime in November has shut out some credit unions from using this common business marketing practice. “We had some luck with Twitter in October doing promoted tweets and promoting the account as a whole,” said Meredith Olmstead, founder and social media marketing consultant at Social Stairway, who is serving as a social media consultant for Peach State.

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  • Mobile Wallet Collaboration Crucial for CU Success

Credit Union Times

A mobile wallet will only be successful if members adopt and consistently use the app to conduct daily transactions. Ultimately, merchants will play a critical role in the success or demise of each mobile wallet solution. Forging mutually beneficial relationships with merchants, navigating the various merchant requirements including point-of-sale technology preferences and negotiating pricing agreements can be a daunting, if not impossible,  feat for an individual credit union to accomplish, regardless of its size or resources.

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  • NAFCU – Strategic Growth Conference

The Financial Brand

According to data from FindABetterBank, consumers who are specifically interested in mobile banking services are very likely to believe they’ll bank 100% virtually in the future. While fewer banking “traditionalists” (those using checks, for instance) see an all-digital future, it’s still a healthy percentage — nearly two-thirds.

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  • Security and BYOD policy management key barriers to corporate mobile banking

Finextra

Corporate treasurers cite security challenges and bring-your-own-device business policies as the key obstacles to wider uptake of mobile banking platforms for treasury activities. Of 135 finance and treasury professionals collared by Capital One at the annual Association for Finance Professionals (AFP) gathering, barely one-in-three used a corporate mobile banking platform. Security challenges with sensitive corporate data was cited as the primary barrier to widespread adoption (66%), followed by obstacles for companies figuring out their BYOD policies (24%).

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  • Banks Face Losing To Google And Amazon, While Shortchanging Corporate Clients

Forbes.com

Two strong critiques of banking in the Financial Times today. Francisco Gonzalez, CEO of BBVA bank, writes that banks can expect competition from Amazon, Google and Facebook. BBVA is based in Spain but owns BBVA Compass in the U.S. Goonzalez writes that technology has transformed many businesses — next in line is banking. That may come as something of a shock to bankers who think they are on the cutting edge, but Gonzalez points to competitors in providing financial services including PayPal, Square iZettle, SumUp and Dwolla.

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  • Email Design: Discover Card’s “Statement Available” Message

Net Banker

Most statement alerts are simple one liners asking the user to do all the work: login, find the right tab, click on the correct button, and so on. Discover, on the other hand, positions key summary information right within the body of the email: statement end date, statement balance, credit available, minimum payment due, and due date. The company includes a button to view the statement at the top, but somewhat buries the payment link near the bottom. Analysis: This is one of the better (maybe best) statement-available message I get from the major brands. But it could still be improved

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What We’re Reading: BAI Retail Delivery, Banking Trends, Innovation

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.

 

  • The Case for Keeping Mobile and Online Banking Separate

American Banker

Some people expect to be mobile-first customers.  To date, however, many banks require customers to first enroll in online banking – partly due to security and compliance concerns, partly due to integration challenges. Even so, some banks are separating mobile from online.  U.S. Bank, for one, already lets people enroll in mobile directly and activate some services without needing additional online setup. (The bank also offers imaging technologies that simplify the deposit and payment process, including mobile photo bill payment).  “Experience is king,” said Chris Peper, U.S. Bank’s vice president of mobile channel management.

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Bank Systems & Technology 

  • Mobile Banking Best Practices Highlighted at BAI

Several leading banks shared some of their experiences, challenges and lessons learned at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 today at a panel discussion titled “Mobile Influencers: Lessons Learned, Mobile Today, Mobile Tomorrow.” Some of the key themes that emerged from the discussion included the evolving relationship between online and mobile banking, the growing value of mobile check deposit and the use of mobile coupons and shopping offers.

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  • Banks Should Act Like Startups When it Comes to Innovation

Bank Systems & Technology

A session at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 emphasized creating new ideas and having deep customer empathy. When it comes to pursuing innovation, banks need to adopt the mentality of a startup. That was the theme of a session titled “Creating an Innovation Framework that Works” at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 featuring Nicole Lorch, SVP Retail Banking at First Internet Bank and Jeff Lauterer, Leader, Product Operations for online banking services provider Digital Insight.  According to Lauterer, innovation occurs in any industry not just by creating new products, but by tweaking existing products in such a way that demand increases so much a company needs to hire extra employees just to handle that product. He cited Taco Bell’s “Taco Loco” — a recent addition to the fast food chain’s menu featuring a Dorito as a taco shell — as one prime example of this. “Innovation can happen anywhere,” Lauterer noted. “The key is bringing in a culture of innovation that is sustainable and continuous.”

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  • Mobile banking without a phone: Here comes the bank van

Christian Science Monitor

With the rise of tech-driven banking in developing nations, why is this rubber-to-the-road method of reaching customers gaining traction? In Uganda, many of the rural unbanked still prefer the physical presence of a banker, even though they have access to the technology for mobile banking. “The market reality is that people want bank services closer,” according to Tonny Miiro, managing director of Uptime Solutions Uganda, one of the banks in Uganda that is using vans to reach more far-flung residents. “That is what we are doing. It is important that government comes up with more policies that call for more inclusive bank services provided by financial institutions, as there is demand.”

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  • Google Data Reveals 2013 Banking Trends

The Financial Brand

Seven years ago, practically no one searched Google for anything related to mobile banking. And then… the iPhone came along. Now consumers see smartphones as an integral part of the financial toolbox. Consumer interest in mobile banking is climbing at a sustained 30° angle, with no signs of letting up.

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  • Are mobile wallets being made by the wrong people?

Finextra

The leaders in mobile wallet technology? Undoubtedly retailers. Starbucks and McDonald’s are already building these wallets in response to customer demand.  But with mobile wallet use predicted to rise in 2014, should banks or mobile operators—who are better positioned to offer levels of security customers expect—be building them instead? The challenge is that the business case for building a mobile wallet shows little direct financial benefit on its own to a bank or MNO (mobile network operator), while a retailer can leverage the wallet to drive loyalty.  But there’s actually no reason why banks should ignore the potential gains that will come from customer spending data and loyalty programmes that can be launched based on this information.

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What We’re Reading: Underbanked, Mobile Game App, DDoS

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.

  • They May Be Underbanked, But They’re Highly Networked

American Banker

A remarkable 68 million Americans today lack full access to traditional financial services, such as a bank account or credit card, or choose not to use them. Interestingly, though, these financially underserved individuals are far from disconnected. They are actually more active users of mobile phones and social media than the population at large. The vast majority of the so-called “underbanked” are highly networked, using their mobile devices to connect via social media, purchase goods online and, increasingly, conduct financial transactions.

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  • BB&T Teaches Leadership Creed with Mobile Game App

Bank Systems and Technology

The Winston-Salem, N.C., bank released a mobile app this month called Legacy: A BB&T Leadership Challenge, in which users play the role of a medieval hero enlisted by King Alpheus to help the land of Failburg succeed. (The king is named after BB&T founder Alpheus Branch.) Players gain influence – and proceed to the next level of the game – depending on how they interact with the characters.

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  • Biometrics Has Potential in Mobile Banking Apps

Barlow Research

Apple finally delivered on its much hyped biometric capabilities in September when it released its new iPhone 5S with a built in fingerprint identity sensor, Touch ID. It had been rumored to be in the works for several years and the public was finally able to view how the finger printing technology works. Touch ID has some great benefits; it is a user-friendly way to let users get to their information quicker and it also allows a fingerprint to authorize a purchase from the iTunes or App store. These two capabilities have potential for the future of mobile banking apps.

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  • DDoS Growing; CUs Unprepared

Credit Union Times

The DDoS threat keeps growing. Third-party experts and credit union executives—primarily speaking anonymously on the subject—said most credit unions have done nothing to protect themselves against the threat, which has been increasingly linked with theft of funds at financial institutions. “They are remarkably naive,” said an expert, who asked to remain anonymous, of credit unions. Added a senior engineer at a Northeast credit union with more than $500 million in assets, who also requested anonymity, “We haven’t had any outages and we haven’t installed any new defenses.”

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  • Top 100 Banks & Credit Unions Adding The Most New Facebook Likes

Financial Brand

The top 100 banks and credit unions on Facebook ranked by their new ‘Likes’ in the last 90 days through September 2013.

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  • Executives see no letup in mobile trend

Miami Herald

There are 7 billion activated cellphones worldwide, about the same as the population. About 6 billion hours of video are accessed on YouTube every month. Of that, 70 percent is from outside the United States; 25 percent is accessed on mobile devices. On Friday morning, panelists at WorldCity’s Tech Connections event — executives Marcelo Caputo of Telefonica, Jose Antonio Rios of Celistics, Mark Hans-Joachim Crofton of SAP, Juanjo Duran of YouTube and Richard Wadsworth of MasterCard Worldwide — shared these numbers as well as a glimpse into the future. The consensus: There will be no letup in the speed of mobility or big data, particularly in Latin America.

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What We’re Reading: Mobile Banking Scorecard, Social Media, Big Data

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.

  • Fifth Third CEO: Social Media Keeping Banks Honest

American Banker

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to ensure that banks treat customers fairly, but Facebook and Twitter are even more effective at keeping banks honest, argues Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) Chief Executive Kevin Kabat. In a speech that largely focused on the regulatory response to the crisis, Kabat said social media is now taking a central role in helping banks assess their standing among customers and shareholders. Banks don’t really need new guidelines and mandates from regulators, he said, since every action — from the introduction of a new product to new disclosures on checking accounts — can be censured in real time.

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  • Study: Banking’s branch of tomorrow

ATM Marketplace

In new research, “Arriving Now — Banking’s Branch of Tomorrow,” Mercator Advisory Group reviews continuing evolution of branches today in banks and other financial institutions, according to a news release about the study. “With recent advancements occurring in the self-service banking channels — including ATM, online, and mobile banking — coupled with an expansion of teller duties in both full- and assisted-service roles, branches continue to evolve at many financial institutions, with branch reconfiguration at the center of many FIs’ branch strateg[ies],” said Ed O’Brien, director of the banking channels advisory service at Mercator, and author of the report.

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  • Chase Tops Keynote Mobile Banking Scorecard

Bank Systems & Technology

Banks are moving towards offering more robust, transactional mobile services and capabilities, the scorecard finds. Chase achieved the top overall score in the 2013 Mobile Banking Scorecard from Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of San Mateo, Calif.-based Keynote Systems. The scorecard compared the mobile banking offerings of the top 15 U.S. banks and ranked the banks across four mobile categories: text, mobile Web, iPhone app and Android app. The banks were ranked in four categories, functionality, ease of use, quality & availability and privacy & security.

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  • Sibos #2 – Your Weather Forecast for 2014

Celent Banking Blog

The headline is that Sibos is back. Swift would argue that it never went away, but after the rather damp squid that was Osaka, the difference was clearly different, with the halls full and buzzing. Swift clam 7,648 delegates, which breaks out to roughly 44% Europe, 29% Middle East & Africa, 16% Asia Pacific and limping in last, 11% Americas.  Considering the size of the delegations from the large US banks, the latter number shows that Swift needs to continue to make sure the conference returns to the US regularly.

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  • How CUs Can Use Big Data To Drive Big Revenue

Credit Union Journal

The ever-growing file of aggregated, disparate information known as “big data” is leaving many credit unions with more questions than answers. A new report, however, shines some light on how CUs can use predicative analysis to increase revenues. “Big data is something we have recently begun to focus on but we are new to it,” said Robert Keats, vice president of information technology for Grow Financial FCU. “I believe there probably have been some missed opportunities in the past, but if we had all the data in front of us, and understood it, better decisions could be made.”

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  • Behind eBay’s $800M buy: Braintree will replace PayPal’s developer platform

GigaOm

eBay’s $800 million purchase of Braintree is primarily motivated by one big factor: PayPal’s need for a nimble and flexible commerce platforms that met the demands of the new generation of startups and mobile app developers. That’s according to John Lunn, PayPal’s global director of developer networks, who spoke with GigaOM Thursday morning.

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  • Chase leads US mobile banking segment

Telecompaper

According to new mobile banking data from Keynote, Chase achieved its fourth consecutive win for Overall Score. Following Chase was Wells Fargo and Bank of America, with US Bank moving into the top tier, tying with Bank of America for third place.

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What We’re Reading: Tech Savvy Consumers, M&As, Credit Union Websites

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.

 

  • Mobile Banking Activity Continued to Grow in June

American Banker

Banks continued to report increases in mobile banking usage in June, according to the latest Mobile Banking Intensity Index. The overall value of the index, 72.5, was roughly in line with the intense growth of last month’s reading of 73.8. Mobile check deposit continues to be adopted quickly among these banks’ customer bases: the index value for mobile deposit was 87 for June. In one component of the index value, 77% of respondents said the volume of activity of retail customers using mobile deposit was higher in June than in May.

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  • Fintech Vendor M&A Activity Down First Half of 2013, Study Finds

Bank Systems & Technology

A new report by Berkery Noyes showed vendor mergers and acquisitions diminished in the first half of 2013, but a pickup in M&A activity may be on the horizon. The volume of mergers and acquisitions among financial technology vendors slowed in the first half of 2013, with total value for M&A deals in the industry falling by more than $8 billion compared to the second half of 2012, according to a report recently released by investment bank Berkery Noyes.

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  • NFC mobile payments: overcoming the barriers for banks

Banking Technology

Now the increasing prevalence of smartphones (not to mention mobile banking) has in turn resulted in a greater push for mobile payments; there have been several well-documented attempts to converge NFC and Smartphone technology to this end (albeit with limited penetration to date). Examples include Orange Quick Tap (in conjunction with Barclaycard) and NatWest’s trial of PayTouch. Yet there are a number of significant issues that face firms looking to innovate in this burgeoning arena.

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  • Why CU Websites Need To Be Less Like Brochures & More Like Amazon

Credit Union Journal

Jeff Chesky, CEO of Insuritas, who spoke as part of NAFCU’s Annual Conference, said that too many CUs’ websites look like digital brochures rather than the Amazon-esque sites consumers have grown accustomed to from other providers, where they can make purchases. Unlike Amazon, he said, credit unions don’t have to work to create love or trust—but most haven’t yet created an online experience as easy as Amazon’s. Moreover, he said, local webmasters and marketing directors generally aren’t equipped to do so. “Your marketing director in your credit union will never have the bandwidth or the capacity to convert your credit union’s webpage into an e-commerce site,” he said.

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  • Staying Relevant Demands New Tools, Innovation

Credit Union Times

Credit unions’ competition is not just big U.S. banks. Recently in San Francisco, Bank of India billboards were seen marketing the convenience of deposits in overseas accounts. With technology evolving, our idea of member service will need to evolve to remain relevant in today’s social, global and crowd-sourced world. Credit unions tout their great member service, higher savings rates, lower loan rates and fees but never their innovation and simplicity.

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  • How To Shatter The Mobile Banking ‘Glass Ceiling’

Financial Brand

According to a study on mobile banking from The Federal Reserve published in March 2013, there is a high probability that non-mobile bankers will eventually adopt the technology. Among those consumers with mobile phones who do not currently use mobile banking, 10% report that they will “definitely” or “probably” use mobile banking in the next 12 months. An additional 14% of those who sat they are unlikely to use mobile banking in the next 12 months report that they will “definitely” or “probably” adopt mobile banking at some point. Although consumers’ stated intentions may not perfectly reflect their subsequent behavior, there is strong evidence that “planned use” of mobile banking does in fact correlate with subsequent adoption.
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  • FFIEC may be prepping guidance for mobile banking

Mobile Payments Today

The word going around is that the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council could introduce guidelines on mobile banking security within the next 12 months. But while that particular aspect of mobile payments may be in the regulatory eye, experts do not expect strictures to be more broadly applied. “The FFIEC issued its initial guidance to U.S. financial institutions on Internet banking authentication in 2005 and then provided an update in 2011,” said Dave Jevans, chairman and chief technology officer of Marble Security, whose firm specializes in mobile security.

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  • Mobile and Beyond: How Banks Are Catering to Tech-Savvy Customers

Motley Fool

The smartphone has changed everything. With people carrying around the equivalent of a mini-computer in their pockets, it’s only natural that a demand for easier banking options grows from the continued developments in convenient apps. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, bank branches were viewed as an essential piece of the banking puzzle, with the FDIC reporting in 2007 that a convenient branch location was one of the most important factors for customers as they decided where to put their money.

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  • I’m Still Waiting for My Phone to Become My Wallet

New York Times

Last summer, Apple introduced Passbook, a digital system for storing boarding passes, movie tickets, loyalty cards and gift cards on the iPhone. But it doesn’t do much beyond that, at least not yet. Google worked with major credit card companies and banks to create its Wallet app, which lets people pay for items at some stores by waving their phones but is available only for Android devices. And the major mobile carriers in the United States banded together to form Isis, a mobile payments network, which has yet to roll out nationally.
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  • Stern Advice-Financial advice that is popular – and wrong

Reuters News

Instead of making extra payments to burn the mortgage early, stash those extra dollars in a retirement investment account. Invested prudently, it’s hard to believe that money wouldn’t earn you more than the 3 or 4 percent you’re paying in mortgage interest – which is tax deductible, don’t forget. Having the cash on hand, instead of the paid-up mortgage, could help with retirement expenses down the road when you’re not ready to sell your house but have unexpected expenses. If you think you want to stay in your house through your dotage, paying off a low-rate mortgage slowly while you bank money is a much better solution than paying it off now and finding you need a costly reverse mortgage in the future.

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What We’re Reading: Cybersecurity, Tablets in CUs and Consumer Spending

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.

 

  • Cybersecurity Should Not Come at Expense of Privacy: White House

American Banker

The White House says the nation needs new laws to reinforce its cyber defenses but that the push should not come at the cost of privacy. The House of Representatives on April 18 passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, which would encourage owners of financial networks, utility grids and other critical infrastructure to share information about digital threats with the government and one another. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying it lacks sufficient privacy protections. Civil liberties groups and other critics of the measure charge that it would allow companies to share people’s emails and text messages with U.S. intelligence agencies.

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  • Small Business Owners Big on Mobile Technology

American Banker

A survey of 1,305 small business owners conducted by Constant Contact in March found that 66% currently use a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet in their work. Of the non-mobile users, 65% have no plans to use a mobile device in the future, many citing a lack of demand for mobile access from their customers. This segment is partial to Apple devices, according to the survey — 66% use iPhones, while 39% use Android phones. About 49% use iPads; only 15% use Android tablets.

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  • Keep Wal-Mart Out of Financial Services, Bankers Ask

BusinessWeek

A group of bankers advising the Federal Reserve urged U.S. regulators to consider preventing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from offering some financial services. The Federal Advisory Council, a body of bankers that includes PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and BB&T Corp., said at a Dec. 19 meeting that Wal-Mart’s sales of prepaid cards warranted greater federal oversight. Minutes of the meeting were obtained yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act.

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  • Consumers spending nearly 10% more than in 2009

CNN Money

American consumers are spending nearly 10% more than they did four years ago when the country was reeling from the effects of the financial crisis, according to an analysis of the spending behaviors of millions of Mint.com account holders. In the first quarter of 2013, the average household spent roughly $4,220 per month — up from about $3,870 in the same period of 2009, according to the inflation-adjusted consumer spending index released Wednesday by Intuit, which owns personal finance site Mint.com.

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  • Why CUs Can’t Afford To Be Left Behind On Tablets

Credit Union Journal

It’s estimated that nearly half of the U.S. Internet population will be using tablets by 2014, which means increasing pressure on credit unions to adapt and conform to the trend. “The proliferation of tablet devices in the U.S alone is impacting everyone who manages their finances via a digital channel, including credit union members,” said Kenneth Hans, executive director of Blackstone Technology Group’s Financial Services Practice. “Much like banks, credit unions are looking for ways to cater to this latest form-factor that offers the power of a laptop in a much smaller and convenient size.” Among credit unions encouraging members to use tablets is the $5.3-billion Suncoast Schools FCU, which has 549,303 members that it has traditionally served via its 53 branches, but mobile devices such as tablets have changed that equation somewhat.

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  • Credit Cards – Game ON!

Gonzo Banker

Credit cards in circulation hit a peak in 2007 at 710 million cards, according to a 2013 Nilson Report. Then the crash of 2008 hit, the Card Act went into play in 2009, and consumer spending changed. From the low point in 2010, the number of cards increased by roughly 50 million in 2011 and continues to climb today, when we have 520 million cards in circulation. Credit card interchange has not been Durbin-damaged as of yet, and interchange is still high. In the United States, 10 issuers own 85.4% of the cards on the market (Source: The Nilson Report, February 2013).

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  • New Fed Report: U.S Mobile Payments Landscape – Two Years Later

Payments News

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has just published a new report titled “U.S. Mobile Payments Landscape – Two Years Later.” Based upon ongoing meetings of the Mobile Payments Industry Workgroup (MPIW) convened by the Federal Reserve, the report updates an earlier paper from 2011. It examines changes in the evolution of mobile POS retail payments over the past two years, characterized by an expanding fragmented market environment and frequent technology innovations.

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Imagining a Cashless Future

*This post originally appeared on the Andera Blog

Working for a financial software company, I’m often struck by how fast things are changing. Financial innovations come in many shapes and sizes from many different places, but for the most part they all follow a general trend: they turn physical processes into digital ones. The so-called “payments revolution” has often made me wonder what will happen when innovation manages to displace the most physical aspect of finance, cash.

In the financial technology world, cash is so uncool that hardly anyone talks about it anymore. The alternative to a mobile payment is a debit card, and the alternative to a debit card is a prepaid card. ATMs get a shout out every once in a while, but that 3-letter acronym comes up less often than either P2P or RDC.

Perhaps that’s because most of us believe, at least partially, that cash is on its way out. Michael Woodford, one of the world’s preeminent monetary economists and author of a paper called “Monetary Policy in a World Without Money,” put it this way:

“It is possible to imagine that in the coming century the development of electronic payments systems could not only substitute for the use of currency in transactions, but also eliminate any advantage of clearing payments through accounts held at the central bank.” (Interest and Prices, 2003).

That’s economist for “At some point, there will be no cash.” The idea makes sense; I use my debit card for almost everything, and when I need to repay a friend or split the bill, I prefer to send P2P payments from my mobile banking app. I really only keep cash in my wallet for two reasons: the local bar and the bagel place on the corner. Even most food trucks in my area use Square. That said, we’re still a ways out from totally getting rid of the nasty green paper.

When I imagine a cashless future, I foresee three things:

1) Technology will make things a little easier.

When they were first introduced in the 1970s, ATMs were a huge leap forward. Consumers could save time they previously spent visiting the branch to withdraw cash. They could choose to withdraw more frequently and feel safer carrying less cash in their pockets. The spread of credit, then debit, and now prepaid cards has had the same effect. Like most participants in the financial technology space, I’m absolutely gaga about mobile payments, and can’t wait until I can leave the house with only my mobile phone. It’s also easy to imagine how advancements in cyber-security will gradually reduce the risk of identity theft. No hassle, no wallet, no risk – what a world that will be.

2) Banks will consolidate – or evolve.

Right now, many of the features that banks compete on, including ATM networks, branch networks, free checks, and early “cashless” technologies like P2P payments, will, in a totally cashless economy, become moot points. As money moves to the cloud, locality will matter less and less, and community financial institutions sheltered by brick-and-mortar monopolies will face competition from every corner of the country. Hundreds of banks have closed or merged with national banks since the financial crisis, and the onward marching wave of technological change will only continue to whittle down the list of U.S. financial institutions. The ones that fail to adopt the latest mobile and online technologies will go first.

As I see it, the banks of the future will live or die on the success of two things: their lending strategy and the quality of their customer experience. Evaluating the risk and return of loans and investments will continue to be difficult long after cash is gone. As it is today, some banks will be better at it than others. If they can collect more from loans, they will be able to offer more on deposit accounts and attract customers away from competitive institutions.

By customer experience, I don’t mean the ease of withdrawing or depositing money. In a cashless economy, neither of those transactions will take place. Instead, I predict that institutions will partner or expand to offer a wider range of financial services, such as brokerage, insurance, and financial planning under one roof or rather, on one website.

3) The popular notion of money will change

I am most curious to see what will happen to the idea of money in a cashless future. When I say money, the first image that probably comes to mind is a green dollar bill, and most people conceive of money as a limited, concrete asset like gold that we chase around and fight over and trade for things like food and shoes. Money is actually a bit more complicated, and its supply has as much to do with credit as it does with the US Treasury printing press. (When you hear, “The Fed is printing money,” what it’s actually doing is manipulating the banking system into lending and borrowing a little more.)  In a cashless economy, how will we talk about money? Will our movies still feature the symbolic suitcase full of 100 dollar bills? Will central bankers and policy wonks still talk about “ the money supply“? Will we spend more with nothing tangible to hold onto or will we spend less when every transaction is digitially traceable (I’m thinking about PFM here)? I’m not sure.

A cashless future may be a long way off, but I genuinely believe that I could be living in it before I die. I’m only 22, so that’s about 60 years. 60 years ago, Walt founded Disney, Walton founded Wal-Mart, and most of the banks on Wall Street were already decades old. Perhaps its time to start preparing.

 

Melanie Freidrichs: Melanie likes writing and data. She “coordinates,” among other things, Andera’s blog, Andera’s webinars and Andera’s twitter feed.  In addition to financial technology and marketing, her favorite topics to blog about include financial regulation, monetary policy, and increasing access to financial services.

She is a member of the first class of Venture for America, a two-year fellowship that seeks to revitalize American urban centers through entrepreneurship by matching recent college graduates with start-ups in low-income cities.

Melanie grew up in Bethesda Maryland, and received an A.B. in Economics from Brown University in 2012.  She thinks Providence is a pretty cool town.

Why There Isn’t a Bank Transfer Day in 2012

*This post originally appeared on MyBankTracker

From June 2011 to June 2012, credit unions reported a year-to-year increase of more than 2.16 million memberships — the largest influx of members in the past decade, according to data by the Credit Union National Association.

In the prior year, there was only a 552,890-membership increase at credit unions.

The four-fold jump in new memberships is easily attributed to last year’s Bank Transfer Day (held Nov. 5), the consumer movement that rallied fed-up bank customers to close their fee-riddled accounts and move their money to credit unions.

The exact number of consumers who made the switch because of Bank Transfer Day is difficult to determine, but the movement did push credit unions into the spotlight.

This year, however, there will be no official Bank Transfer Day to give banks a run for their customers and deposits, said Kristen Christian, the creator of Bank Transfer Day.

Christian, a former art-gallery owner, now spends most of her time attached to her notebook PC while she journeys throughout the country, and other parts of the world, as a speaker/consultant for credit unions.

For instance, earlier this month, Christian attended a credit-union conference in Pennsylvania and spoke on ways that credit unions can market to younger generations through social media.

“It’s been such an incredible opportunity to promote consumer empowerment and economic sustainability while helping cooperatives [financial institutions owned and operated by its members] reach the next generation of members,” Christian said.

But, her new role isn’t the main reason that there won’t be another Bank Transfer Day this year. Rather, given that 2012 is an election year, Christian does not want to distract consumers from exercising their right to vote.

“While we’ve seen significant media attention dedicated to the Presidential race, I’ve yet to see significant steam for Senate elections,” said Christian, who aims to draw support forSenate bill S. 2231. The bill is an amendment to the Federal Credit Union Act that would more than double the lending cap for credit unions from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. Christian says this would enable credit unions to promote the growth of local small businesses through low-interest rate loans. “This piece of legislation has a potential to create 140,000 jobs at no cost, yet lacks the support in Senate many voters feel it deserves.”

Non-violence

Additionally, Christian does not want any violence to break out during the promotion of another Bank Transfer Day.

Last year, Bank Transfer Day happened to coincide with Occupy Wall Street, another non-affiliated consumer movement. OWS protesters organized a “March on the Banks” event that gathered bank customers to close their accounts, which occurred in a less-than-civil fashion at some banks. At one Citibank branch in New York City, protesters were locked in the branch — until police arrived — because they were holding a protest in the middle of the bank.

“Being a pacifist by nature, I was disgusted by the disruption caused last year in the name of Bank Transfer Day,” Christian added. She encourages consumers to close their bank accounts independently and respectfully. “These front line employees have absolutely no control over bank policies and certainly didn’t deserve the abuse heaped upon them.”

Occupy Wall Street has been unable to rebuild momentum this year and its impact has diminished significantly. If the movement fails to return in the future, would Christian promote Bank Transfer Day again? Probably not.

“As people constantly evolve, I think social movements should as well,” said Christian, who’ll commemorate Bank Transfer Day for many years to come. “In many ways, it’s a celebration of the principles that bore the American revolution: rallying together to inform one another and defend the communities we’ve worked so hard to build.”

This Nov. 5, Christian will be in Baton Rouge, La. to raise awareness for Senate bill S. 2331.

Consumers don’t need an official day to move their money from banks that are treating them unfairly. As Christian and credit unions would say, “Every day is Bank Transfer Day.”

To anyone or any organization that seeks to effect a similar consumer-advocacy campaign, Christian preaches: “The best advice I can give to anyone who seeks to implement significant change is to approach their efforts with patience, reason, love and a sense of humor. I’ve found love to be far more effective than hatred.”

How has your organization seen the effects of Bank Transfer Day in the last year? Let us know in the comments below!

FI Spotlight: University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union

Banks and credit unions have been creating some interesting campaigns to attract customers leaving large corporate banks. To continue the momentum from Bank Transfer Day, University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union launched the “lipstick on a bank” campaign to educate consumers and increase members.

In order to build credibility and raise awareness of the benefits offered by credit unions, University of Kentucky FCU launched the campaign and microsite at the beginning of 2012 to demonstrate that, “You can  put lipstick on a bank, but it’s still a bank.” The campaign and microsite focused on three main benefits to consumers when they join a credit union like University of Kentucky FCU: membership, checking and loans, particularly emphasizing lower fees and better rates.

Megin Morgan, member development specialist at University of Kentucky FCU says of the campaign, “Our goal was to keep it simple and straightforward and to demonstrate why going with a credit union was beneficial.” The credit union has already seen a large increase in new accounts from the campaign which ran during the months of January and February 2012. With 706 new accounts in 2012 reported in early March, and 18 percent increase from 2011, Morgan notes, “We saw this as a successful credit union awareness campaign that seemed to get people’s attention. We could possibly re-run it again in the near future to keep the credit union movement momentum going.”

You can read more about University of Kentucky FCU’s campaign from Credit Unions Online here.

How are you bringing new 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.

 

Millenniels, Mirth, and Money: Making Gen Y Laugh and Learn Pays for Credit Unions (Part II)

This is the second of a three part series on Gen Y  and credit unions by guest author, Kathy Klotz-Guest. The first post was published last week, and can be read here. The second part of this series discusses using videos, contests and social media. Read more below:

Video: Gen Y consumers watch a lot of online video (research firm ComScore reports the average American viewed over 23 hours of video in the month of December 2011) and, today, a growing number are watching them on mobile devices. Video is your chance to connect with this audience at a human level in ways that traditional media cannot. Based on research I have conducted with more than 100 companies, the most important factor in video success is having a great story that is relevant to your audience. If your video happens to go viral, that’s great. Your goal, however, is to connect with your audience in a meaningful way and prompt them to take some specific call to action.

If computer giant IBM, viewed as stodgy and out of touch just 10 years ago, can change its image and poke fun of itself in the now famous “Art of the Sale” videos, so can credit unions. Video should humanize your brand, not bore people. That’s what collateral is for! There are credit unions creating some innovative and funny videos. One of the best videos to speak about the benefits of credit unions is a spoof of Apple’s celebrated Mac v. PC ads (Bankerspank.com or YouTube). The younger, cool guy represents the credit union, while the stodgy, “stuffed suit” represents the bank.

This video series, a handful in all, works well for a number of reasons. First, it’s a funny parody of well-known commercials. Secondly, it uses elements of “story” and metaphor to make its points, and to connect on a human level. The fact that a Gen Y actor plays the ‘cool’ role of the credit union—the banking equivalent of a Mac—is salient. Thirdly, the video series also educates younger viewers on the important differences between banks and credit unions without trying to sell a particular credit union.

Finally, it upends expectations about the way credit unions are marketed. It’s even okay for your credit union to poke fun at itself and its history (for example, maybe you haven’t always been on the vanguard of technology adoption)—as long as you demonstrate that you have changed and are looking to create better relationships with younger customers. Humor shows humility, and it signals to your audience, “Hey! We get it. We know how we have been perceived, and we’re ready to change.”

Another example of a fun video that shows credit unions with personality is “The Winning Team” by University of Kentucky (UK) Federal Credit Union. It shows a handful of bored Gen Y credit union employees who start an impromptu baseball game in the office. The fun is unexpectedly endorsed by the boss. Besides providing a great laugh, this video did not cost much to produce. Quality content is not the same as quality production. Content trumps production values, according to my research on video storytelling. The potency of the message is an important one: This credit union believes fun and service are all parts of a compatible winning team that serves, and is served by, Gen Y members. This matters, given that the credit union is associated with a university system. It’s a good example of what a lighthearted tone (and a relevant message) without a heavy budget can do. And just as with the Credit Union v. Bank video, this video is short. The ideal video is under two minutes.

Contests: Social media also enables content to be interactive and shared in a way traditional media does not, so take advantage of its participatory elements. People love to create and share their own content. Allowing users to participate by creating their own media (CGM, consumer-generated media) is a way to increase engagement and fun and enable your audience to help tell your story to peers. It’s also a great way to stretch your marketing budget and ensure that content is created by your intended audience with their own needs in mind. Fairfax Credit Union in Virginia launched a video contest for the Gen Y Extreme Checking Account commercial (on YouTube). They invited members of Gen Y to create short 30-second videos about the credit union’s new Gen Y Extreme Checking service.

This effort worked on a number of levels. First, it facilitated awareness and engaged Gen Y members to create content and, in turn, educate their peers about the new “Extreme” service. Secondly, the videos were funny, absurd and odd— an authentic reflection of Gen Y humor created by Gen Y participants. Finally, by inviting members to create their own videos, the credit union expanded its reach without having to create all of its own content. Often, an organization’s best storytellers come from outside its walls. Your engaged fans are your best and most credible referral sources. Just remember to make it fun, encourage creativity and allow them to share their creations on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Stay tuned for the last post in this series!

About Kathy Klotz-Guest: Kathy Klotz-Guest, CEO of Keeping it Human, helps organizations connect with audiences on a human level and get better marketing results. In her 20-year career, she has led successful marketing and communications strategies for high-tech, financial and services firms. A founding fellow for the Society for New Communications Research and comic improviser with the ComedySportz San Jose Rec League, she can be reached at kathy@keepingithuman.com, or via LinkedIn and Twitter.