Mobility Matters: Tracking the Mobile Banking Revolution in Credit Unions
Research is making the point, emphatically: You need mobile banking, and it needs to be app based.
New reports from organizations that track these things underline the conclusions that consumers want mobile banking, now, but probably most institutions can hold off on debuting next generation tech tools such as digital wallets.
Another – upbeat – finding: credit unions are winning high marks from members for their tech offerings.
A jumping off point into the new research are the numbers from New York-based mobile advertising firm Verve Mobile that show a staggering 80% of consumers rank mobile banking as “important.” Forty-one percent want a native app for mobile banking.
The big take-away from the Verve study, per Greg Hallinan, chief marketing officer: “People now are on their smartphones all the time. They clearly have an affinity for using the devices. What’s striking in our study is a lack of consumer concern about privacy and security issues, which had been barriers to smartphone use.”
Said Hallinan: “"There is a great opportunity for additional growth and competitive distinction for those financial service institutions who address this pent-up demand in the market, by providing increasingly sophisticated mobile account services to consumers."
That sets the stage for particularly bright news for credit unions. Behold the new study released by Boston-based market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey which found that credit unions are doing “a great job” providing members with technology. According to its study, 60% of members give their credit unions high marks on technology, compared with 49% of customers at national banks and 36% of regional bank customers
Elaborated Chadwick Martin Bailey, customers who specifically call their financial institution’s online and mobile banking excellent break down as follows:
- Credit unions – 85%
- Large national banks – 66%
- Regional banks – 53%
- Community banks – 55%
Read that again: 85% of credit union members say their institution’s online and mobile banking are excellent.
Jim Garrity, who heads the financial services practice at Chadwick Martin Bailey, acknowledged that in many cases – looked at objectively – credit union technology may in fact lack some of the advanced bells and whistles of the latest offerings from the money center banks.
But, stressed Garrity, “Member expectations are set fairly. No, it’s not realistic to say the technology at most credit unions is on par with what the banks offer. But credit unions benefit from a halo effect.”
Put bluntly: members seem willing to cut their credit union slack if the institution is making an effort to compete in the technology arena.
Garrity also emphasized that because all but a handful of credit unions lack the built-out branch infrastructure operated by the big banks, “credit unions have understood they need to offer other ways to do business with them.” Mobile and online banking are, in that context, game changers that let credit unions run with the big dogs.
Good as the Chadwick news is for credit union executives, maybe the most provocative numbers are in a new study from Linthicum, Md.-based consulting firm First Annapolis which proclaims that mobile banking has become “ubiquitous” among the nation’s large banks.
According to First Annapolis, 81% of the nation’s top 100 banks offer mobile banking and, said Paul Grill, who led the study, some of the ones that do not are not retail banks as such but wholesale operations such State Street Bank.
“Mobile banking,” pronounced Grill, “now is a need-to-have.”
An emerging must have, said Grill, are apps specifically designed to run on tablet computers – about 25% of the largest banks presently offer tablet apps.
On an uptick is mobile remote deposit capture which, said Grill, now is offered by 24 of the biggest banks. “That is up from eight in last year’s survey.”
Those numbers just may serve as a roadmap for technology deployment by credit unions. If the numbers have it, mobile banking is a must, a tablet app is highly desirable, mobile RDC is nice to have and, as for the advanced technologies, wait and see seems a wise position for any except institutions determined to be on the bleeding tech edge.