Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seven Predictions for the Future of Banking

Today, Susan Wolfe, Vice President of Financial Services from Mintel Comperemedia, presented a webinar entitled, "Seven Predictions for the Future of Banking" where she explored trends in the industry based on the research and direct marketing examples from their custom consumer surveys and mail panel. Each of these trends correlate with what I have seen in the marketplace even though many trends have been impacted by the massive influence Reg E has had on the focus of many bank marketing departments over the past few months.

The predictions presented in the Webinar were:

  1. More Aggressive Focus on 'Relationship Banking': Even though trust in banks has waned lately, banks are emphasizing the building of a stronger relationship through integrated accounts like Fifth Third's Relationship Savings Account and with rewards programs like PNC Bank's points.
  2. Increased Promotion of Account Builder Programs: Responding to a much higher savings rate, especially by higher income segments, new products are being introduced such as SmartCents by Capital One and U.S, Bank's S.T.A.R.T. program.
  3. More Debit Card Marketing: With the loss of overdraft fee income, banks will encourage debit card use for automatic bill payments and will begin to share interchange income with per use rewards programs and sweepstakes.
  4. Continued Importance of Incentives: As mentioned my recent Blog, incentives for opening new checking accounts have increased and are becoming more widespread. BBVA Compass also offers incentives through an offline and online refer-a-friend program.
  5. Mobile Banking is the 'New' Online Banking: While the adoption of mobile banking currently is inversely correlated to age, this trend could easily reverse as offline sign-up expands and promotion of text messaging and electronic alerts increases. Bank of America has around 3 million subscribers with the majority using an iPhone or iTouch. Online money management tools also continue to become more sophisticated such as those from Mint.
  6. Proliferation of Financial Literacy Programs: Banks are focusing efforts on new programs to help customers better understand and manage their finances such as Chase's Blueprint and Bank of America's financial education website.
  7. Expanded Testing and Use of Social Media: Financial services firms continue to test ways to leverage social media such as American Express's online booking app on Faceboook, Bank of America's help page on Twitter, Chase's Facebook charitable giving event and Stagecoach Island from Wells Fargo.

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