One of the most read articles on BankDirector.com this month (Where Will The Revenue Come From) notes the number of dividing lines in banking today. Up to now, credit quality and capital levels had been the chief variables separating the haves from the have-nots. However, as those metrics stabilize, we turn our attention to another key point of differentiation: the ability to generate top-line revenue growth. Now, I've been hard pressed to find anyone who believes revenues for the banking industry can return to their pre-crisis levels; nevertheless, individual banks can find success. Case-in-point, new technologies -- most notably mobile banking -- are opening doors to entirely new sources of revenue.
This past summer, I wrote about mobile banking as a catalyst for growth. Where many had focused their initial mobile efforts with an eye towards longer-term cost reductions, quite a few banks are growing their businesses using mobile products and services as complementary assets to what they currently offer. Since writing that series, I’ve found myself talking with a number of bank executives and product vendors about how quickly a bank can “make mobile” happen. Recently, I caught up with First Data’s Chris Cox, vice president, product development, in the company’s Mobile Solutions group, and asked for his take on using mobile as a way to acquire new customers. He made the point that banks going mobile as simply an extension of their Internet banking experience miss the bigger picture. Mobile is not necessarily risky, it’s almost a must-have.
If mobile banking hasn't become a part of your growth plans, you need to understand how providing such access to personal accounts and your institution as a whole supports your overall business strategy. Cox talked about First Data's experience with banks of various sizes. Yes, economies of scale allow smaller bank similar opportunities to deliver a mobile experience as meaningful as the country's largest banks. However, a bank's board would be well served to explore how the institution is currently meeting the needs of its consumers and consider how offering new mobile products and services can support its goals. There is, after all, a need for a vision before strategy.
Solutions that level the playing field, such as turnkey, white-label, mobile-banking platforms can help even the smallest community bank offer choices, convenience and security that today’s financial institution’s customers need and expect. Cox did warn that some banks offering a mere mobile version of their website instead of a mobile application may miss out on the mobile experience customers want. He suggested the best banks look at attracting new customers and promoting new products and services. Moreover, thinking mobile in terms of a new product delivery platform allows for the introduction of new products and services. For example, you can help the customer base move from a "leather wallet" to a virtual or mobile one in order to make payments, deposits, or transfers or exchange value, anywhere.
Let us know, in the comments section below, how your bank is using mobile as a driver for overall customer growth.