It’s time for financial institutions to improve mobile banking

By: Albert McKeon


Banks have started to make headway with mobile banking services — but apparently, they still have a long way to go before they meet the digital demands of their customers.

Most of the major financial institutions in North America and Europe have yet to provide mobile offerings for small businesses and mobile wealth management services for consumers, two areas that promise large revenue returns, according to a recent survey by the financial consulting firm Avoka.

The survey illustrates why mastering mobile banking means more than meeting consumers’ basic digital needs. By not harnessing the potential of mobile, banks risk not leveraging customer insights despite having more consumer data than other industries, as Financial Brand noted last year.

Mobile banking needs infrastructure to match innovation

But banks aren’t entirely in the stone age. Some financial institutions have made significant in progress providing mobile services such as account and loan management, Avoka found. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo became the first major U.S. bank to offer card-free services at ATMs. Customers receive an access code on their banking apps that serves as the entryway to an ATM transaction, as opposed to cards that can get lost or stolen, The Chicago Tribune reports.

But those banks are in the minority: Avoka sees the majority of financial institutions’ mobile services dragging behind their desktop offerings. In an interview with Banking Exchange, Avoka’s chief marketing officer said he believes banks can’t break free of rigid and siloed product development practices.

Indeed, many banks rely on aging in-house hardware to support their mobile apps, a mismatch of creaky infrastructure with user demands that call for real-time responses and personalized assistance. Banks can answer this infrastructure imperative by turning to cloud computing to handle processing power and resource distribution, thus improving their means to simultaneously handle millions of system requests. Financial institutions can also put an end to overprovisioning by using composable infrastructure to spread out spare capacity across an entire system and make it available on demand.

On top of all that, banks should also follow federal guidelines for securing mobile apps. To ensure strong cybersecurity, regulators urge banks to follow the standards of the Open Web Application Security Project and consider steps such as annual security tests of apps and cross-site scripting, American Banker reports.

Personalized banking in the palm of customers’ hands

The rewards of a top-notch mobile app outweigh the initial cost and organizational struggle of loosening rigid development practices. Consumers turn to their mobile devices to shop, socialize and be entertained. The leading applications that deliver those offerings leverage customer insight to provide personalized experiences that can be monetized. If financial institutions can get moving on mobile banking, they’ll have can’t-delete apps on a par with Amazon, Twitter and Netflix.

Banks are starting to get it: More than 70 percent place improving the digital customer experience as their top strategic priority, according to Digital Banking Report. This effort includes redesigning or enhancing current digital offerings.

Consumers want banks to use their personal data to offer advice on savings, retirement and financial planning. They also want these personalized services delivered on mobile apps. If banks follow through on their top priority for 2017, then the mobility outlook for 2018 shouldn’t be dire.

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About The Author

Albert McKeon

Freelance Writer

Albert McKeon covers technology, health, business, politics and entertainment. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter for 16 years on the staffs of The Telegraph (N.H.) and Boston Herald, winning the New England Press Association’s Journalist of the Year award and other honors. He now writes as a freelancer for several magazines and news outlets,... Read more