For many, Sundays begin with a thorough reading of their local newspaper. In my house, turning on CBS Sunday Morning and then ESPN’s NFL Countdown proves ritualistic. We all have our morning routines; ever since re-joining Bank Director in September, mine has also included reading through past issues of our magazine. While I will not share the details about the coffee I brewed this weekend ("there’s a tweet for that") or breakfast I cooked (yes, Epicurious has a loyal fan), I’ve found myself digging through various articles we’ve run on the strategies and technologies retail banks use to engage their consumer base. From deposit products to retail lending, mobile payments to online banking, we’ve covered quite a few retail issues over the last few years.
One of the trends I've picked up on centers around the remarkable evolution of technologies, features/functionality and adoption levels in the mobile banking market. Coming back to the financial community after 5+ years in the application development space, I'm of the opinion that to design any innovative offering and develop relationships in this digital age requires the alignment of an organization’s goals, people, resources, and culture. In fact, I wrote last year that from brand communication strategy to social media marketing, it strikes me that the adoption of a "good" or "novel" idea often hinges on how quickly that idea can be brought to life. To see how far mobile banking has come in such a short period of time...wow.
So while a few may argue that officers and directors don't have a real interest in talking tech, a look at the numbers might make cynics re-think their position. Take mobile payments: “long seen as a laggard in mobile payments, the United States is far more ahead of the curve than perceived” according to a recent Aite Group report. Indeed, the independent research and advisory firm forecasts that U.S. mobile bill payments will reach $214 billion in gross dollar volume in 2015, up from $16 billion in 2010. With so many banks facing challenging revenue outlooks and mounting cost pressures, I agree with the group's assertion that “firms missing the signs that the market is now rapidly shifting will be at a serious disadvantage in the next few years." Projections worth considering as so many executives find that their increasingly sophisticated clients are constantly demanding new products, better service, and more detailed reporting.