• New mobile banking applications are moving transactions out of the branch, mailbox, or ATM, and onto members’ smart phones.
• Mobile RDC and P2P payments will prove their worth through cost savings and stronger member relationships.
• Board focus: Mobile banking will help retain members in today’s increasingly mobile society.
Smart phones bring a host of products and services to your fingertips—instantly. People who own smart phones have become accustomed to instant service.
That raises expectations for all service providers—including your credit union. So when you require a member to come into your branch to deposit a check or go to an ATM to get some cash to repay a friend, the process seems archaic. Technology has rendered some of the most basic financial services outdated. But that’s changing.
Vendors and credit unions are rolling out services that let members use their smart phones to execute a growing number of
financial services. These services are keeping your mobile members out of the branch, but in touch with your credit union.
Many credit unions offer remote deposit capture (RDC), which enables members to capture check images via computer scanners or digital cameras and then deposit those checks online. Funds are credited to the member’s account according to the credit union’s funds availability schedule.
Although most RDC services can accept images from a variety of desktop scanners, some business members invest in multifeed scanners with magnetic ink character recognition capabilities.
Mobile RDC allows members with smart phones to take advantage of a similar process. A smart phone combines the functionality of a cell phone with advanced capabilities such as sending e-mail, accessing the Internet, or running applications that perform specific tasks.
Members at $3.8 billion asset Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Live Oak, Texas, deposited more than $33 million in checks with a scanner-based RDC service during the 12 months following the launch of the service in early 2009. Randolph-Brooks Federal added a mobile RDC option in April 2010.
“With members living in almost every state and many countries, it’s important to consider their needs, as well as the needs of members in our local footprint,” says Mary O’Rourke, assistant vice president, member service operations. The credit union’s field of membership includes highly mobile military members from Randolph Air Force Base.
Randolph-Brooks Federal’s mobile RDC service is currently available to users of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android 2.0 smart phone. The iPhone is used by 46% of the 47,000 members who access Randolph-Brooks Federal’s mobile banking site, while 16% use Android smart phones, and 15% use Blackberries. The other participating members use a variety of other mobile devices.
“Our intent is to provide this service across all mobile phone platforms and to be device and carrier agnostic,” O’Rourke says. “We’re still working toward this goal. Not all mobile platforms, however, provide the ease of development that the iPhone and Android do. So the challenge is making the service universally available to the majority of our members.”
As of May 31, nearly 2,500 members downloaded mobile RDC applications, making 1,380 deposits worth almost $700,000. Randolph-Brooks Federal hopes to expand the functionality presently available to mobile RDC users to echo its current mobile banking service, which includes secure messaging, balance checks, transfers, and other functions. Members will also have access to credit union news and updates through the application.