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.
- Big Check Volumes Aren’t Just for Big Banks, a Small Bank Says
Business clients that receive thousands of checks per month typically can’t get automated bulk check processing services from a small bank. And if the services matter to those clients, the small banks lose their business to larger rivals. But Farmers & Merchants Bank, a $4.7 billion-asset bank based in Long Beach, Calif., is launching an image cash letter service. In doing so, the bank is demonstrating an emerging option for smaller banks to deepen relationships with business clients, speed processing and take greater control over the quality of check images that are prepared for deposit.
- Nacha Payments 2012 Round-up
Last week he was in Baltimore for the Nacha Payments annual event, a regular fixture on his calendar. He just wanted to share some impressions, some of his own, others themes from the many conversations he had. Mobile loomed large on the agenda. It’s not an area that he specifically focuses on but he was struck by the diverging opinions. On one hand, some banks were saying that those customers who used the mobile service were the most profitable. However, others also said they didn’t know how or when they’d make money from mobile.
- Why Smaller Banks Should offer Image Cash Letter Deposit Services
Farmers & Merchants Bank, a $2 billion-asset bank based in Long Beach, Calif., is launching an image cash letter service. The accompanying press release caught the eye of American Banker resulting in a story today on the topic, Big Check Volumes Aren’t Just for Big Banks, a Small Bank Says, written by John Adams. In a previous post, he commented on why wholesale lockbox belongs in the headlines even though it has been around as a staple treasury management offering for five decades. The post emphasized that after all these years, the market opportunity for wholesale lockbox services remains significant.
- Social Media Needs ‘Socialnomics’
Credit unions would be well-advised to take a course in “Socialnomics,” according to one person. Socialnomics is the intersection of social media and word of mouth, creating “world of mouth” advertising, according to Erik Qualman, an expert on social media and author of a book with that name. “Socialnomics is word of mouth on digital steroids,” he said, noting many consumers are moving past what had been considered a big deal just a few years ago-doing research online at home before going out to shop. “People are now using their smart phones to scan QR codes in stores, which not only lets them comparison shop, it lets them get recommendations on the product from their Facebook friends.”
- Mobile Wallets Have Uphill Climb to Consumer Acceptance
Will mobile wallets take off in the US? If marketers, carriers and other service providers expect technology that allows mobile phones to act as credit or debit cards to gain wide acceptance, they have a lot of work to do to convince consumers to adopt. According to March 2012 panel-based research by marketing solutions agency Catapult, just one-quarter of US consumers were at least somewhat interested in using a mobile wallet for in-store purchases. In contrast, 58% were uninterested—including 41% who reported a complete lack of interest. Correspondingly, in January 2012, market research firm TNS found that 60% of US mobile phone users were not interested in mobile wallet technology.
- Infographic: The Digital Lives of American Moms
Moms are at the center of their family’s offline life, so it’s little surprise that they’re also at the center of many of the biggest trends online as well. Whether to look up the latest product reviews or to connect with friends, families, and even brands through social networks, American moms are particularly active and influential online. American moms use social media frequently, with nearly three out of four moms visiting Facebook during March 2012. When using social media, moms are 38 percent more likely to become a fan of or follow a brand online, and moms who blog are more than twice as likely to follow brands and celebrities compared to the online average. Moms visit blogs more often, and are 27 percent more likely to visit Blogger and 26 percent more likely to visit WordPress.com than the general online population.
- Mobile Payments Expected To Surge (INFOGRAPHIC)
Mobile payments are expected to hit 21.3 percent in 2012. Mobile payment technology is making it unnecessary to carry a wallet or maintain a bulky cash register at your checkout counter. By using devices and apps like Square and Google Wallet, small businesses are getting paid faster and customers are making more reliable purchases. Data from Deloitte show that mobile payment usage is expected to spring from 6.8 percent in 2009 to a predicted 21.3 percent in 2012.
- New free website e-mails you when you’re going over budget
Plantation-based PowerWallet.com helps people manage their finances, sending reminders to pay bills — from credit cards to monthly cable charges — and alerting consumers when they’re near their budget limits. “It keeps your spending in control,” said PowerWallet co-creator and president, Bob Sullivan. “We looked at the market about a year ago and found people were having trouble with their finances.” So Sullivan helped set up the secure website that allows people to safely list their finances online, including their investments, bank accounts and bills.