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Mobile banking is not only the wave of the future, it’s a driver of economic recovery, according to a new report, which also predicts that mobile banking will nearly triple over the next five years worldwide.The same report also cites the expansion of the concept of “core banking” from the traditional idea of basic functionality with core customers to one that encompasses the large variety of financial services that include credit cards, insurance and investing.“The World Bank has predicted that the global economy would shrink this year for the first time since the Second World War as the impacts of a U.S. housing market implosion and the ensuing credit markets turmoil pulled the global economy into recession,” said Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research Corp. in Boonton, N.J.“And though no one can predict when the present recession will end, it is a safe bet it will and that national and international financial systems will be all the stronger for having weathered the storm,” Rosenberg said in his new report, “The Mobile Phone and Financial Applications Worldwide 2009-2014.”“In fact, many of the same technologies that have been deployed to fashion this single global market system are also likely to become part of the solution to a financial rebound,” he said.According to his analysis, eight general areas of mobile financial applications will generate nearly $124 billion for application developers and cell phone companies in the next five years. And that’s not counting the financial worth of the actual transactions on the consumer and financial institution level.Those eight applications, which the Insight Research study expects to triple by 2014, are mobile banking, stock trading, proximity and retail applications, credit cards, bar cording, peer-to-peer applications, gaming and gambling.Each functions in its constellation of providers and end users but share one thing: delivery through mobile phones. Rosenberg studied each of those applications and generated separate forecasts into a 150-page report he is offering for sale for $3,995 in hard copy. PDF licenses also are offered and a free excerpt is available online at www.insight-corp.com.The Insight Research report estimates 2009 global total revenue opportunity for mobile financial applications to be about $13 billion, a figure the think firm expects to reach about $33 billion in 2014.Those figures combine estimated revenue for application developers, bandwidth providers and back-end hosting companies. Rosenberg advised keeping a particular eye on application developers as market leaders.“The application developers, as a segment, are undoubtedly the most vibrant among all the stakeholder categories,” he said, “and the one that Insight’s research suggests provides the clearest indication of market acceptance of mobile financial applications.”Rosenberg’s report also views the development of mobile phone applications as part of the automation of financial applications in general.“The most influential automation trend in the financial sector is undoubtedly occurring in what the financial services industry calls ‘core banking solutions’-the business conducted by a banking institution with its retail and small business customers-its core customers,” the report said.Core banking platforms that leverage the Internet and mobile channels are expanding both reach and definition of those core functions.“A physical manifestation of this reach is the growth in the number of points of presence (PoP),” Rosenberg said. “Core banking adds automated teller machines and user devices such as PCs and mobile phones to the list of bank PoPs.”“The influence of core banking application automation extends beyond conventional banking functions and encompasses the large variety of financial services offered by institutions, including stock broking, credit card issuance and insurance among others,” the researcher said in his report.Rosenberg also argues that while financial services often are early adopters of new IT solutions, that’s not uniform around the world. Regulators at central banks are the major drivers in such adoption, he said, and rollout is now gaining serious speed, especially in emerging markets in Asia, African and the Americas.That, accompanied with the explosion of mobile phone use in those regions, is resulting in “some of the most practical and innovative adoptions of financial applications for mobile phones popping up first in the emerging markets,” the Insight Research report said.“Moreover, banking sector reforms in most countries have facilitated the entry of multinational banks across economies, increasing competition all around and making it increasingly necessary for banks to reach out to customers on a personalized level,” Rosenberg concluded, “and nothing epitomizes that personalization like the mobile phone.”–[email protected]

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