Mobile Madness

Experts say mobile banking will be the next online banking.

December 7, 2010

I recently attended the Bank Administration Institute’s (BAI) Retail Delivery Conference in Las Vegas. BAI consistently puts together an informative, relevant, and entertaining experience.

The buzz over mobile banking—and the apps that enable it—was deafening. Never before has a single topic so dominated this conference.

Projections for the rise of mobile banking are bold: Direct and indirect revenues from mobile applications could exceed $25 billion by 2014, when banking and stock trading from mobile phones are expected to become routine transactions for nearly 2.2 billion consumers worldwide.

The boldest predictions have the percentage of households using mobile banking overtaking those using online banking in three or four years. More conservative estimates are 10 to 15 years.

“Mobile banking is the next online banking, and online banking is the next branching. Where that leaves the branch is yet to be determined,” said Jim Bruene, editor of Online Banking Report.

Some progressive credit unions have been quick to roll out their own offerings. And for good reason: About 20% of credit union members say they’d switch financial institutions to gain access to mobile banking, according to Mercatus research conducted in May 2010.

And 40% of credit union members who have already switched institutions said the availability of mobile banking was a “key trigger” in their decision to change.

In the rush to offer mobile banking, however, it’s possible to get ahead of your marketing department and trip over yourself. Without a cohesive marketing strategy, the percentage of your members signing up for mobile banking might be disappointing.

So before getting swept up in mobile madness, be sure members want it and will use it. And be sure your marketing department has the resources to make the rollout as smooth and successful as possible.