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Mobile Mainstream at BAI Retail Delivery

2010 October 22

BAI 2010 Mandalay Bay - Mobile Banking, Mobile Remote Deposit Capture were hot topics

BAI Retail Delivery 2010 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas

BAI Retail Delivery 2010 was all about mobile.

Panning across the expo floor it was hard to spot a location uninhabited by a mobile vendor of some sort.

Furthermore mobile vendor booths were bigger and fancier than the 10 by 10 table stalls of the past that I remember stuffed with little more than a sales rep and a laptop.

The mobile conversations around the show with bankers were full of mobile reality and possibility for the future.

Mobile is clearly an maturing retail banking line of business. A common show theme was that more traditional bankers from outside electronic channels finally discovered this at BAI. Hopefully mobile bankers will find more allies across the bank and spend more time innovating and less time politicking.

Doug Peacock of M&I Bank reported mobile adoption at 20% of online bankers

Adoption is solid at bank after bank. During a panel discussion, Doug Peacock of M&I Bank reported mobile adoption at 20% of online bankers. Alon Kupferman of M&T Bank and Chris Cox of Regions Bank both shared anecdotes of strong adoption of their mobile web offerings before they were even announced. Customers are using mobile phones to visit bank sites and are actively seeking out mobile optimized products.

Also, Mobile Remote Deposit Capture is quickly capturing the attention of bankers planning upcoming mobile innovation. Unfortunately many bankers are struggling to get basic mobile banking features approved and implemented through glacial bank approval processes. These bankers were not optimistic about the speed of getting bank naysaying lawyers and risk managers to approve mobile remote deposit capture.

Mobile check fraud is lower than any other deposit method

Interestingly, one executive at an institution with mobile RDC, speaking off-the-record, reported that mobile check fraud is lower than any other deposit method on a percentage basis.

So, ironically it’s possible that the same risk managers responsible for allowing the behaviors that nearly destroyed the entire banking system and US economy, are slowing the very technologies that can reduce fraud and increase the strength of the bank through increased deposits and card transaction rates.

Additionally, bankers continue to look for ways to monitize the mobile channel. Bankers have long looked to cross-selling and upselling as a key monitization technique. Banks are getting closer to the ability to cross sell in the mobile channel. Technology like Cardlytics, although not yet mobile enabled, promise Gmail-like ad revenue to banks with straightforward cross-selling tools.

So, my key takeaway from BAI is that banks must find ways to innovate while managing risk. Just saying no (or stalling) is a strategy that will lead banks to oblivion.

Banks that can innovate are gaining customers and earning more money. Banks running in circles are becoming less profitable and less competitive every day.

Furthermore non-bank players like PayPal will find ways to serve banks customers if banks won’t do it (despite most customers preferring to use banks for financial services). Look at the earnings of PayPal parent EBay. They were sharply higher almost exclusively from PayPal payment transactions.

Innovate or go home.

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