What We’re Reading: Mobile Bankers, Millennials, Cyber-Attack Trends

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 Increases the Need for Mobile Bankers

American Banker

Ask a thousand bank managers what makes their bank a better choice than the competition, and about nine hundred and fifty will tell you “our people.” I won’t argue that. In an increasingly commoditized industry, our people can be one of the few true differentiators left. But the model that has them forever sitting in buildings that fewer and fewer people utilize makes less strategic sense each year. The term “universal banker” has become pretty ubiquitous. Universal bankers (usually) can handle anything from assisting with a teller transaction, to opening an account, to performing varying levels of financial needs analysis.

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  • Banking Cyber-Attack Trends to Watch

Bank Info Security

The key for banking institutions in 2014 will be to focus on detecting and mitigating multiple risks across multiple channels. “We will see more blended attacks that combine DDoS with some form of attempted data compromise,” says Doug Johnson, vice president and senior adviser of risk management policy for the American Bankers Association.

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  • Three Ways Millennial Business Owners Differ from Your Traditional Business Customers

Barlow Research

Barlow Research recently hosted a Webcast panel-discussion on the millennial generation entitled “Banking the New Face of Business: Millennials, Boomers and Dynamos.” Our panel included three very knowledgeable panelists: Himmat Randhawa from Digital Insight, and John Yarley and Alfred Chin from Visa. Through the course of the panel discussion on millennials, we learned three important things about this generation. 1. Instant Gratification Is Expected. Himmat Randhawa from Digital Insight believes that a challenge that financial institutions have with understanding the millennial generation has to do with their usage of technology and their channel preferences. “The vast majority of millennials are tech-savvy and think about the online channel as their primary channel with very little interaction with the offline channels. Millennials want anytime, anywhere access to information and don’t have an expectation to do that in-person.”

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  • Top Reasons Card Data Breaches are Here to Stay

Credit Union Times

By far, the main reason thieves have begun to steal card data from U.S. firms, some experts say, is because they can. “The U.S. payments industry has become the one household in the neighborhood that has not upgraded its security system while everyone else has,” explained Karisse Hendrick, program manager in payments and fraud for the Merchant Risk Council, an international trade group that is organized to help firms fight card fraud. “When you are perceived to have security that is the easiest to beat, she added, thieves will try to beat your security.”

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  • Ally Bank launches app for Windows Phone 8

Finextra

Ally Bank, the direct banking subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc., has expanded availability of its popular Ally Mobile Banking app to include a version designed exclusively for Windows Phone 8 users, enabling even more customers to access and manage their money “on the go” using the Bank’s award-winning app.

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The Zen of Gen-Y

*This post originally appeared on MyBankTracker as a guest post from Banking.com.

At this point it’s almost a cliché to talk about millennials. We know who they are: the generation born between the late ‘70s and late ‘90s, or essentially book-ended by the Vietnam War and 9/11. They’re frequently derided, but can’t be ignored — there are now close to 100 million of them, which means they constitute the bulk of the consumer class. More importantly, they define both the business and lifestyle practices of the modern era. They’re not them anymore — they’re us.

So what does this mean for the business world in general, and the financial services community in particular?

That question periodically generates hot debate, and we seem to be in one of those cycles now. Every shift and each innovation is viewed through this prism, and with good reason. Trends will rise and fall based on its success with this market.

To be clear, every successive generation has its defining characteristics. The Greatest Generation we associate with World War II was clearly unique. The Baby Boomers that followed them set trends that we follow today. Gen-Xers helped lead us into the digital revolution. So what is it about Gen-Y (sounds so much better than “millennials”) that will define our era for those that come after?

An exhaustive study of this demographic (conducted jointly by Service Management Group, Boston Consulting Group and Barkley) identified the key words associated with this group: technology-reliant, image-driven, multi-tasking, open to change, confident, team-oriented, information-rich, impatient and adaptable.

A few of those terms surely have great resonance. “Technology-reliant?” Absolutely. The Internet became mainstream just as this generation reached college age, which means they were its earliest adherents. No wonder, then, that they’re also “information-rich,” not to mention “impatient” and “adaptable.”

The fact that they’re team-oriented is equally significant.  A new article in Investors.com analyzes the distinctive habits of financial advisers from this generation and finds that the key to performance is collaboration—in keeping with their upbringing, they thrive on constant feedback. Of course, they also differ from their predecessors in many ways. Rather than put in extra-long workweeks as their parents did, they want flexibility  in everything from days off to working from home.

Perhaps most importantly, they have a greater sense of security about their savings. This is despite the fact they potentially have a pessimistic outlook, representing a sea-change in attitude from, for example, the election in 2008.

One unmistakable characteristic in the Gen-Y crowd, of course, is the adoption of new technologies. This also has a domino effect, and banks need to stay aware of this phenomenon. For example, remote deposit capture has spread with remarkable speed, which in turn has diminished the value of branch banking — it was often the only reason younger consumers ever entered a bank. Other mobile innovations have had a similar effect, which is why digital accounts now arouse greater interest than ever before. In addition, an entire generation nursed through technological adolescence by the soothing tones of Siri might want someone like “her” guiding them through complex financial transactions.

In a larger sense, if Gen-Y is a significant part of the market now, it essentially is the market (soon). They have enormous clout already, with massive buying power out-sizing influence. They are clearly more fickle, apt to change service providers on a whim, less impressed by brand credibility, and have a more international outlook than earlier generations.

Above all, the fundamental change with Gen-Y, actually, is just that — change. This may be the first generation that can be fairly assured the career they begin with is not the one they’ll end up in. Every aspect of their lives will undergo systemic transformation, often through no fault or desire of their own, and they will need support systems, including banks and accountants, to be similarly adaptable. Financial services providers that can stay ahead of such trends will win their hearts and their business, but be warned, just keeping up will be a challenge.