Reprinted, with permission, below, is a very nice article done in conjunction with my speech to the OBA's Annual Convention and Leadership Conference in May. Thanks to Brian for including me in his article.
The Journal Record
Expert: Banking industry needs to keep up with mobile market
by Brian Brus
Published: May 23rd, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – The consumer adoption of mobile banking is dependent on how quickly banks offer simple, secure access, Trent Fleming said.
“When we look at the typical bank customer today who is perhaps using a telephone banking product or Internet banking, they are going to adopt a mobile banking capability as soon as you make it available to them,” said Fleming, a banking industry technology expert. “There is more demand than there has been supply at this point.
“Community banks are somewhat lagging behind, and nothing from a technology or cost standpoint is keeping them from doing it,” he said. “It just hasn’t been high on their priority list, even though their customers are very interested.”
Fleming will share advice on developing a mobile banking strategy at the Oklahoma Bankers Association’s Leadership Forum and Annual Convention continuing Tuesday at the Embassy Suites hotel in Norman.
The event began with a golf tournament Monday. Tuesday’s features include a breakfast welcome by Frank Keating, former Oklahoma governor and current chief executive of the American Bankers Association, and several topic sessions similar to Fleming’s throughout the day. Topics include risk control, industry regulations and customer loyalty.
Fleming is a professional consultant and speaker with nearly 30 years of experience in bank technology. The last major industry change he helped banks navigate was the adoption of check imaging systems and improving consumers’ comfort with that new component.
He said that as multiuse cellphones and other personal data assistant devices have become more widespread, consumers and vendors have seemed to be in a race to find ways to leverage them. Mobile banking, for example, broadens options for handling deposits and multiple-party payment transactions without the need to find a full-size computer screen hooked up to the Internet. Many institutions have already implemented the technology to stay competitive, provide convenience and reach more tech-savvy customers.
The market seems to have already reached a critical density of consumer use that means mobile technology isn’t much of an option anymore – it’s a necessity.
“The adoption rates that we’re seeing are pretty dramatic,” Fleming said. “Even just a year or so ago, when one of the larger banks, TD Banknorth (in Maine), offered its iPhone app for mobile banking, they had about 100,000 downloads in the first couple of weeks. So it’s obvious there’s a lot of demand for it from the customer side.”
According to statistics from CTIA, the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry, the ratio of cellphones to population in the United States was nearly one to one in 2010, or 95 percent, across all socioeconomic levels. That technology access also opens opportunities to provide services to segments of the population that have traditionally shied away from traditional banks, he said.
But bankers also must be careful to recognize one application does not fit all – individual consumers have different needs and expectations than business customers, he said. So part of a bank executive’s challenge will be rolling out mobile services to market segments in a way that makes the most sense for the most users, via partners that can support those services most securely.
“We’re finding that in mobile banking, in the next three to five years or sooner, will become a key part in business banking simply in acknowledging the nature of business owners today, who are constantly on the move,” Fleming said. “They need to be able to sign a check and approve a wire transfer on the go.”