When San Francisco-based Bank of the West, an $80.7 billion asset subsidiary of BNP Paribas Group, analyzed last year the bottom line impact of customers who are engaged in online banking and mobile banking, it found some surprising results. Digital customers, or those who were active online or on their mobile phones during the previous 90 days, had lower attrition rates than nondigital customers, and they contributed higher levels of revenue and products sold, says Jamie Armistead, head of digital channels at Bank of the West. Core technology provider Fiserv, which offers its bank customers a mobile banking app, found similar results in a recent survey of eight credit unions and nine banks.
Enrollment in mobile banking remains low, but is increasing rapidly. Armistead says mobile banking use at his bank is growing at two to three times the rate of all other channels, including online banking. This is true at smaller banks, too. Active mobile banking users as a percentage of checking accounts increased 170 percent over the last two years to a median of 16 percent this year, according to Cornerstone Advisors, which surveyed 55 midsized banks. The median asset level was $2.5 billion. As mobile use grows rapidly, banks are beginning to ask questions not just about whether they are keeping up with their competitors in terms of the attractiveness and convenience of their mobile offering, but also whether mobile is fitting in with the bank’s overall strategy and making it money.
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