Most analysts and experts agree 2011 is the year mobile capture goes mainstream. In fact, I predict within two years this service offering will be as ubiquitous as online banking and bill pay. Your members will demand it, and statistics demonstrate that some members will even go so far as to switch financial institutions if the service isn’t offered at their current institution.

A few early adopters launched the service in 2010, but the race has officially begun for the rest of the country. I assure you, your competition is at the very least evaluating mobile capture. The question is not if your institution should offer mobile capture-but rather how quickly?

The explosion of the smart phone has led to a shift in traditional banking. Consumers want the convenience to pay bills, transfer money, and now make deposits all from a hand-held device.

For credit unions, this shift represents a unique opportunity to level the playing field. Mobile is a market that offers a clear first-to-market advantage-with a narrow window of opportunity. Credit unions that hesitate risk losing prime members to the competition, as well as missing the chance to attract new deposits.

Mobile capture affords credit unions with $100 million in assets the same opportunity as credit unions with $1 billion to define and differentiate their mobile offering. A recent study released by The Nielsen Co. states that more than 13% of U.S. households access their bank account regularly via a mobile device-this is up 12% from the previous quarter and only expected to rise.

And it’s not just the millennials, or younger demographics, embracing and demanding this on-the-go technology. Nielsen also uncovered that a significant portion of the mobile banking population is what the company termed the “country club” communicators-many of them parents of the traditionally defined millennials.

For credit unions, this is a huge opportunity and one that should not be taken lightly. Where is your credit union in the race?

Andrew Tilbury is director of marketing for Bluepoint Solutions in Vista, Calif.