Online Banking Ranks #1 With Consumers

An increasingly digital lifestyle has left most consumers conducting banking tasks outside of the traditional brick and mortar branch, whether via a mobile device or online banking. Intuit Financial Services’ 4th Annual Financial Management Survey echoed this sentiment as 27 percent of respondents said they only physically go into their bank or credit union once a month, excluding ATM visits.

Correlating with fewer branch visits, the percentage of consumers using online services provided by their bank or credit union continues to increase year-over-year; up 11 percentage points since 2009 to 38 percent in 2011. Not only are consumers utilizing online banking at a faster rate, they are placing a stronger emphasis on these tools. One-third of respondents said they would switch financial institutions for better online banking tools, showing the growing need for financial intuitions to provide a strong online suite of tools to customers and members.

Are you seeing a decrease in branch visits at your FI? Are your customers and members beginning to utilize online banking tools at a faster rate? Let us know in the comments section below, or Tweet @Bankingdotcom.

Banking.com to Host Twitter Town Hall on November 3rd

In conjunction with Intuit Financial Services’ 4th Annual Financial Management Survey, which will be released next week, we’re hosting a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday, November 3rd. The Twitter Town Hall will discuss the survey results and how they tie into current banking trends, including mobile banking adoption, consumer attitudes, what consumers are looking for in online banking tools, customer loyalty and more.

The Twitter Town Hall is open for all our readers to join and participate in the conversation. To join us and/or learn more about the event, see below

Steps to Join:

  • Twitter Town Hall: Go to www.tweetchat.com. Log in using your Twitter ID.
  • Enter the hashtag to join the conversation: #IFSsurvey

Details:

  • Date: Thursday, November 3rd
  • Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00 pm EST
  • Hosted by: Banking.com Staff (@bankingdotcom) and Al Ko, Senior Vice President of Consumer Solutions for Intuit Financial Services (@financeworks)

If you are planning on attending the Twitter Town Hall and interested in receiving the key findings of the survey in advance, please email the Banking.com editors at info@banking2020.com. Additionally, if you are interested in submitting a question prior to the Twitter Town Hall, DM us on Twitter.

We hope to “Tweet” with you on November 3rd!

Financial Management Emerges from the Tab

As consumers increasingly look to find ways to budget and manage finances, financial institutions are looking to provide easy access to financial management tools and information. With a recent announcement, Intuit introduced tighter integration between its personal financial management software, FinanceWorks, and financial institutions’ web sites.

In an American Banker article, Celent’s Jacob Jegher noted online banking is moving toward a ‘dashboard’-like experience, that goes beyond a static display of information. The article also profiled Beneficial Mutual Bancorp Inc. of Philadelphia, which has 140,000 online banking customers using the ‘dashboard’-like experience:

“It is very straightforward and transparent, and the ease of use is the most important,” said Denise Kassekert, executive vice president of relationship banking for the $4.7 billion-asset Beneficial.”

Furthermore, Forrester analyst Emmett Higdon supported the shift, noting one of the common features of modern website redesigns is a reduction in the number of clicks that consumers must make for common items like bill payments, viewing statements or setting up alerts.

The article noted that with the tighter integration, Intuit also introduced merchant-funded rewards, presenting a huge opportunity for financial institutions, according to Ron Shevlin of Aite Group LLC. The rewards link consumers’ debit card purchases from merchants with deals and money-saving opportunities.

Are your personal financial management tools hidden behind a tab? How many clicks does it take your customers to navigate through your site? Let us know about your “site-stickiness” in the comments below!

Don’t Give Customers a Reason to Look Elsewhere

In all the frenzy of this past Holiday season, you may have overlooked Apryl Motley’s piece on “Smarter Service” in the December 2010 Independent Banker; it’s definitely worth a read.  Consumers today expect more from their community banks than ever before, and they want a lot of added value in the services they get. Motley stresses that a multichannel approach to user-driven technology (many of which a bank already deploys across its many operations) can help retain and cross-sell customers.

She emphasizes four key channels of customer engagement as prime examples:  integrated voice recognition systems (IVRs); ATMs; microsites; and online personal financial management tools – and Motley stresses that the bank needs to better integrate and coordinate these services to enhance the customer experience.  For example:

Presenting a Stronger Voice: Believe it or not, voice is still among the most powerful channels. With the integration of IVRs, telephone banking systems and core banking systems, customers can make deposits at the ATM and then call to verify those deposits.

Personalized ATM Service: Along with valuable information, what customers want most are high levels of speed and service, and they don’t want to sacrifice one to get the other. Smarter technology is enabling ATMs to “listen” to a bank’s customers.

Making the Most of Microsites: Stand-alone microsites (like Savehardspendsmart.com, launched by $11B Umpqua Bank in Roseberg, OR) are mini-websites that provide targeted interactive news and resources on a particular topic, product or service – customers want to rely on their bank as a trusted resource for important information.

Show Them Their Money: The ability to give customers insights about their finances without them having to do much work is driving customer adoption of online personal financial management tools; some banks are revisiting the integration of online banking and PFM applications so that customers have to log in only once to get access to a “hub for managing their accounts.”

What are you doing to coordinate your channels of customer engagement? We’d like to hear.

Innovation Spotlight: Beneficial Bank Debuts “Swipe and Save” Program

Beneficial Bank is helping customers save money this holiday season. Each time someone shops with their Beneficial check card, and uses credit instead of debit, special deals from their favorite retailers will be sent directly to their online banking homepage.

It is free to sign up, and the deals are automatically available. Deals can range from money off on a specific item, to 20 percent off an entire purchase. Denise Kassekert of Beneficial Bank offers additional details on the offering to NBC-TV in Philadelphia.

What services are you offering to help customers and members save this holiday season?

Americans as Financial Sleepwalkers

The “Great Recession” has caused millions of Americans to tighten their belts financially.  However, nearly one out of five consumers are financial sleepwalkers who do not monitor or manage their personal finances, which is more than double the rate in 2009. James Van Dyke of Javelin Strategy & Research writes that despite financial sleepwalkers, there is opportunity for banks and credit unions:

“Half of consumers have a relationship with more than one bank (10 percent have four or more relationships!), consumers always predominately trust banks more than tech companies, and people need ways to simplify the complexity of managing so many interaction channels, financial products and mixed economic trends in order to achieve financial health in challenging times. For example, as Mark Schwanhausser points out in his new report ‘Personal Finance Management PFM and mobile can work together quite well and pragmatic features, benefits and messages must be given the highest priority.”

To read more, visit Javelin Strategy & Research.

How do you plan to help your customers/members better manage finances today and better plan for their future?  How would increased customer acquisition and retention, deeper relationships and more cross-sell opportunities impact your future revenue stream? Let us know in the comments section below.

Baby Boomers turn 65: What’s Ahead?

On January 1, 2011, the first baby boomers will turn 65.  January 1, 1946 kicked off an unanticipated and unprecedented population explosion in the U.S., one that lasted for 19 years.  This date marked the beginning of the Baby Boom, a generation that is 77 million strong.  What’s ahead?  Expect more legible mobile phone displays, premium coffee in nursing homes, bigger and brighter road signs, hearing aids that look like Bluetooth ear pieces.  And a lot of denial.  Even terminology will change. The period from 65 to 85 will become known as “late adulthood”.  And the term “senior citizen” will likely become extinct.  The biggest question raised is how this shift will affect the politics of Social Security and Medicare, and the nature of retirement in general.

For more insights on the “Senior Boom,” visit USA Today.

How are you helping your Boomer customers better prepare for their future?  What offerings and services do you currently provide for this largest segment of the population?

Women: Today’s Chief Household Financial Officers

Across the U.S., 95 percent of women are involved in a multitude of financial decisions in their households, from paying the bills and booking family vacations to filing taxes (according to a 2010 Prudential Financial study). Of these women, 25 percent act as the sole decision-makers when it comes to household finances, marking a growing opportunity for financial institutions to reach female customers.

These “Chief Household Officers” are tech-savvy and utilize the Internet for a wide range of activities, including using Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends to managing the family finances online. In its third annual online management survey, Intuit Financial Services found that 61 percent of women use online banking to pay bills and transfer funds, and nearly one-third use it for budgeting purposes.

The survey underscores how women are at the forefront when adopting online solutions:

  • They rely on online banking tools offered from their financial institutions – more than one-half would leave their current bank or credit union for one that offers these tools.
  • They’re busy! More than one-quarter of women visit their bank or credit union branch only once a month and show a preference for managing accounts online.
  • Seventy percent find the most useful feature is the ability to see their complete financial picture, including all accounts, bills, 401K, brokerage, and more – all in one place.
  • Women want to track finances on-the-go. Nearly one-fourth of women already use or plan to use mobile banking in the next year.

Despite the adoption of online banking, Prudential’s Financial study found that 50 percent of women “need some help” making informed financial decisions. This leaves an opportunity for financial institutions to educate female customers and help them gain the knowledge they need to feel confident in making financial choices for their families.

Does your institution offer classes for women? Let us know how you’re reaching your female customers and members in the comments section below.

Let Banking.com Help You Reach Your Customers and Members

Rightfully so, financial management and literacy is a topic on many financial services leaders’ minds today. It seems that there are many initiatives in the marketplace to help consumers and small businesses better understand financial matters — from printed brochures, to Websites, to large-scale events.

So, what are you doing to help educate consumers about their overall financial picture?

Banking.com is a resource to use to learn how to manage every facet of your customers’ and members’ financial lives. Educational tools provided on this site will help to improve your customers’ and members’ ability to manage their own finances while improving your operational efficiency at the same time.

It comes down to this: Customers and members of all ages are looking for better ways to manage their financial lives through a trusted partner – their financial institution. Financial institutions that help their customers and members see their entire financial picture will prosper in the future by creating a day-to-day online relationship and ultimately becoming their customers’ and members’ primary financial hub for all of their financial management needs.

And don’t forget about small businesses!

Small businesses generate $6 trillion in revenue each year. That’s equivalent to the second largest economy in the world. And since two-thirds of small business owners still use personal bank accounts for business, you won’t have to look far to find them. They’re already your customers and members. Don’t forget to think big about your small business strategy as well.

We’d appreciate your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and let us know how you are reaching and serving your customers and members.

Intuit Financial Services’ Third Annual Online Financial Management Survey

In the age of laptops, cell phones and 24-7 connectivity, many consumers have begun using online tools to complete day-to-day tasks such as paying bills or grocery shopping. With such a vast array of online tools available, Intuit Financial Services wanted to gain insight into how consumers manage their finances via online and mobile banking.

The Third Annual Online Financial Management Survey found that more than one-third of consumers now use online banking tools provided by their financial institution to manage finances, a growing trend that stood at only 27 percent a year ago. The growth of online banking tools has given consumers a reason to evaluate their financial institutions offerings:

  • 52 percent of survey respondents said they would leave their current financial institution for one that offers better online financial management capabilities.
  • Nearly half of all respondents said they’d already switched banks or credit unions recently, and one-third of them switched because their financial institution did not provide satisfactory online solutions.
  • More than 25 percent have also cut back on visits to their local bank or credit union branch to just once a month, indicating that financial institutions are offering viable online solutions that are able to meet customer needs and deepen banking relationships.

However, despite the shift towards and expressed desire for more online solutions and services, 50 percent of Americans still use paper checkbook registers and spreadsheets to manage finances. This presents a great market opportunity for financial institutions to evaluate and implement new online tools and offerings to capture new market share and customers.

Among people using online solutions at their financial institutions, Intuit’s survey also found that:

  • 84 percent feel that most important feature is the ability to pay bills and manage all their finances in one place, regardless of where their account is held.
  • 60 percent pay bills and transfer funds.
  • Nearly half express interest in using tax preparation tools through their financial institution Website.
  • Approximately one in five banking customers currently use mobile banking solutions to manage their finances.

Which of these statistics do you find most relevant to your financial institution? Let us know in the comments section below. Over coming weeks, we’ll provide you with more in-depth analysis of the survey findings, including a deeper dive in mobile adoption and customer loyalty.

For more information on the survey, visit the Intuit Press Room.