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FIs Are About To Be Blindsided…Again

May 13, 2010 5 comments


I’m not sure if you heard, but this little tech company out in California has a couple of neat devices called the iPhone and iPad.  So far, banks and credit unions have been holding back from jumping into the mobile banking space.  But I believe momentum will grow exponentially over the next two years.

The problem is it might just be too late.  One of the main reason FIs haven’t jumped into the mobile space is because there is no clear ROI.  Instead, they mostly hear about the cost savings in other areas like the call center.  No one is charging for mobile banking in the United States.  And until Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Citibank does, I don’t think anyone will.

One idea I have heard floated for income is charging commercial customers.  The reason being companies are typically charged for using cash management services.  Another one is getting transaction income from mobile payments. Make no mistake, mobile is the biggest growth area for financial services.  I believe that within five years, customers will access their account information mostly from a mobile device.  The iPad and other “tablet” computers will only accelerate this growth.

Fiserv’s iPad demo at Finovate Spring 2010 is just a sample of what’s to come.  But what no one is noticing are the companies that are going around banks and credit unions.  Square’s apps for the iPhone and iPad will take away from those lucrative merchant accounts that customers normally get through their FI.

The biggest threat is the new Transaction app that Apple is working on.  Basically, Apple will turn your iPhone into a credit card by using NFC.  So just like PayPal became the standard for online transactions, it looks like Apple could become the standard for mobile transactions.  And if everything is going mobile, where exactly does that leave your FI?

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January 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Well, what a year 2008 was.  Right now, a lot of people are wishing they could just do the ol’ three-finger salute on the whole banking industry.  Between the sub prime crisis, close to 30 bank failures and Big Daddy Madoff, it’s no wonder.  Getting back to basics is what is needed to turn everything around in 2009.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this year brings.  For one, I believe SMS will emerge as the standard in mobile banking.  Last year, a lot of banks started researching this channel.  This year, we will begin to see a lot of rollouts.  In our market, we’ve already seen a few banks launch a mobile banking product.   I’m sure there will be even more announcements by the end of the year.

Seeing how the receivers of TARP funds use their new capital will be interesting also.  I suspect that a few banks will use their excess cash to pick up a competitor or two.  Also, will we lose one of the big three this year?  Citi is looking kind of shaky right now.  Bank of America still has to integrate Merrill Lynch.  If the next fallout happens in credit cards, both could be in even more trouble.

All in all, I’m excited about what this year may bring.  With a new administration, I expect to see some major changes.  Here’s to brave and exciting New Year.

Categories: Bank of America, Mobile Banking, TARP Tags: