Mobile Mania Broke Out In a Big Way
Conferences, white papers, surveys, pilot programs, new applications all screamed the same refrain in 2012: mobile banking, mobile banking, mobile banking.
Disruption. Disintermediation. Reinvention. These three themes rocked the first installment of Money2020, a bustling conference that attracted a full house of 2,000-plus attendees. And it brought in very senior executives from major financial services players ranging from American Express to Visa, MasterCard and Discover; from Wells Fargo to Bank of America; and from Google to PayPal. Money, old and new, crammed into the Aria hotel in search of a roadmap to what it will look like in a scant eight years.
But the biggest and longest buzz at this year’s BAI, the sessions that played to full houses, was anything mobile and at least one big idea seemed to start to take hold. The current crop of mobile banking apps just aren’t good enough anymore, not in a world populated with glitzy smartphone games and slick personal financial management tools. The antidote: mobile banking apps 2.0.
Apps developer mFoundry, a Larkspur, Calif.-based company with 800 mobile banking customers, announced at BAI that it was opening its app to include content from a range of third- party developers. mFoundry CEO Drew Sievers pointed to payments innovator Dwolla and prepaid card specialist Blackhawk Network as cases in point. Sievers claimed that not only will the more powerful app that results be more engaging for consumers, it will also produce new revenue streams for the financial institutions that hop aboard. He envisioned a three-way split of profits resulting from sale by Blackhawk Network on a prepaid card, with Blackhawk, mFoundry and the financial institution all sharing in the proceeds.
The word among some industry leaders is that, suddenly, apps for tablet computers are a must- have. Transformational as mobile phones have proven, the changes now are accelerating with tablet computers such as Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
“Mobile is a member service. And our members have told us, very plainly, that they want us to offer tablet apps,” said Sonya McDonald, a senior vice president at the $5 billion Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union in Live Oak, Texas.