Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Simplicity In Banking Is Anything But Simple


It's time to build your simplicity capability.

Financial institutions are starting to realize that simplicity does not only improve the customer experience, resulting in trust and loyalty, but also reduces operational costs from redundant products, processes and dealing with customer complaints.

By Jin Zwicky, VP Experience Design, OCBC Bank, Singapore

How can banks achieve simplicity?

We can find great lessons from smart banking alternatives such as Simple, Moven, GoBank and Bluebird. What is less discussed is how to achieve simplicity in traditional banks that deal with a legacy of old processes, infrastructure and often don’t have luxury of starting afresh. Translating the big intent to achieve simplicity into realization is not easy.

The good news is that realizing simplicity is possible in any bank. As a design practitioner in one of the largest banks in Singapore, I’ve been leading a broad range of ‘Simplicity’ initiatives in the bank, such as website design, mobile banking, advisory tools, investment product communications as well as redesigning physical spaces. All of these initiatives have reaped measurable success in bottom line results and operational efficiency.

We saw double-digit increases in sales in investment and insurance products when we simplified the communications material. We saw 100% adoption rate in using the digital needs analysis tool in our top branches after we simplified the tool. We increased customers’ satisfaction in our account opening experience by simplifying the system. Finally, our simplified website was not only listed as The More Gorgeous and Simple Banking Website, but also we could save about 0.5 million dollars per year by reducing the number of pages in the website.

From years of my simplicity journey, I came to believe that ‘simplicity’ is not just a project. It is not just a team of simplicity specialists. It is a capability that we have to cultivate! Furthermore, it is an organizational culture that we have to create in order to achieve simplicity.

I came up with the following framework to illustrate this point.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How Will Banks Respond if Apple Becomes Mobile Payments Player


According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple is gearing up to roll out a new payments system for physical goods and services beyond the walls of it's Apple stores.

If true, Apple would leverage the iTunes payments system, credit card data already on file for more than a half million consumers, and recent patents to become a big player overnight.

How will banks or credit unions respond? 

A new report claims that Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, “has met with industry executives to discuss Apple’s interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its devices, according to people familiar with the situation.” The paper also said that online store boss Jennifer Bailey has been re-assigned to a new role where she’s tasked with growing a payment service at Apple.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple also spoke to at least five other well-known executives in the payment industry about the position before tapping Ms. Bailey.

These moves come just months after Apple installed new iBeacon payments technology in their stores and allowed for the payment of smaller ticket store items using the iPhone app and without the need to interact with a store employee.

Obviously, if Apple does enter the mobile payments space, they would not be alone. Mobile payments is a highly competitive industry which has yet to develop a uniform standard due to the lack of tangible benefits to the consumer, the processor and the merchant. This hasn't deterred the likes of PayPal, Google, Square, Stripe, Visa, Mastercard and American Express from developing their own mobile payment platforms however.

While a solution from Apple may not require major changes from the customer or merchant as NFC or EMV does, Apple would still need to improve their position as a 'trusted payments partner' beyond what was found in a 2013 Oglivy and Mather's Mobile Shopper survey shown below.

Note: 'Trust' of Apple as a payments provider was much higher for current Apple customers and many consumers didn't view Apple as a payments player at the time of the research.

According to Denee Carrington, analyst at Forrester Research, "Apple is absolutely the sleeping giant in the payments world. They have the capability... they just haven't tied it all together."

Why Enter Mobile Payments

Why would Apple enter the mobile payments battlefield?

First of all, mobile payments is BIG business. According to Forrester Research, 31% of US online consumers who own a mobile phone are interested in or already use mobile payments for in-store purchases, up from 18% in 2011. However, while 61% of US consumers have heard of a digital wallet, only 11% use one.

But that is expected to change. Americans are expected to spend $90 billion through mobile payments by 2017, up from $12.8 billion in 2012, according to Forrester.

Secondly, current payments infrastructure is outdated. As can be seen from the recent data hacking done at Target, Neiman Marcus, Michael's and probably elsewhere, debit and credit cards are inherently insecure. And since most cards in the U.S. still use outdated magnetic stripes as opposed to EMV technology, personal data is relatively easy to steal.

Thirdly, each card in your wallet represents access to an account without real time insight or interface. A mobile-first payment application similar to what is offered by progressive financial institutions like Moven, Simple, and several banks overseas is a much better way to make payments. They allow you to see what is happening with your account in real time, provide instantaneous receipts, allow for interactive money management and have the potential to be more secure.

Lastly, similar to what banks do today, processing payments with a mobile device could enable Apple to charge a nominal processing fee, but more importantly, gather deep payments and behavioral data from customers and build even more brand loyalty.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

7 Reasons Mobile Money From T-Mobile Should Worry Bankers


The cellular company that promised to shake up the wireless industry, has now disrupted the banking industry by introducing a free way for customers (and non-customers) to keep money in a checking account, make direct and mobile deposits, pay bills and get fee-free ATM access to cash with a Visa debit card.

Not to be mistaken for the future Isis mobile wallet (backed by AT&T, Verizon and others), the T-Mobile Mobile Money solution is the latest in a wave of neobank competitors such as Simple, Moven, GoBank and Amex's Serve. The major difference is that this offering comes with a vast distribution network, an established customer base, significant marketing muscle and more.

When I heard about this newest banking solution, I immediately imagined the buzz in the halls of banks and credit unions across the country. Some financial executives would be acting like it is the end of the world as we knew it, while others would immediately fall into the trap of saying, "It's no big deal". The reality is probably somewhere in between. But there is cause for concern. 

While this is not the same as turning smartphones into mobile wallets, it is a solution offered by a wireless provider that has distinct advantages over traditional banks and credit unions. I would also caution those who see this as "just a solution for the 'underbanked' (definition still under discussion)". I think it could be much more. 

In fact, in some parts of the world, mobile phones have become the de facto way for people to handle day-to-day financial transactions (as opposed to banks). The best known example would probably be Kenya’s M-PESA which is currently used by 20 million people and includes loans and savings products.

So, why should Mobile Money from T-Mobile worry U.S. bankers (in no particular order) . . ?

1. T-Mobile Has an Established Customer Base

Unlike the majority of previous neobank entrants in the market, T-Mobile already has an established customer base to draw from. T-Mobile US provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and MetroPCS, serving approximately 46.7 million wireless subscribers (Bank of America has 55 million customers).

T-Mobile also isn't new to the personal finance arena. By separating the costs of wireless services and devices, T-Mobile already provides customers the option of financing smartphone purchases. According to T-Mobile, they have facilitated billions of dollars in loans for customer phones (all without charging a penny in interest).

"One of the main reasons we're doing this is to deepen our relationship with our customers," said T-Mobile marketing executive Andrew Sherrard.

T-Mobile's cellular pricing strategy (cheap and with no contracts) should correlate well with the demographics they are initially trying to reach. While there are definitely mass affluent and affluent customers who use T-Mobile phones, an above average segment of their customer base probably includes customers without access to traditional financial services and who are looking for lower prices.

Notice in the website marketing, that the term 'prepaid debit card' is deemphasized in exchange for references to a checking account.

Source: T-Mobile Customer Mobile Money Web Page

Bank Innovation Through Collaboration


Established by two former bankers, the Bank Innovators Council was developed to help financial institutions that may lack internal resources come together to brainstorm and test new ideas that could eventually be shared. Partnerships with Finovate, NextBank, BankersHub and Innovation Agency will hopefully provide additional momentum. 

By JP Nicols®, founder and CEO of the research and innovation firm Clientific, a partner at Bank Solutions Group and co-founder of the Bank Innovators Council.

Bankers and credit union executives have long sought a competitive advantage in a vast sea of largely undifferentiated competitors. For most players, and for most of the industry’s long history, the chief weapons in this war have been scale and localization. Either growing large enough to create economies of scale and/or scope, or trying to corner one or more local markets by being more, well, “local”. A few have even tried to accomplish both strategies simultaneously.

But how will those strategies play out in this new era of financial services? Regulators will not let the very biggest banks get a whole lot bigger any time soon. The top 100 banks in the U.S.— less than 1.5% of the 7,000 or so still around— already control 81% of the loans and 75% of the deposits. Well-capitalized and well-run small and midsize banks and credit unions will certainly swallow up weaker competitors as this quickening consolidation phase that we have all been predicting inevitably becomes a reality sooner or later. But will this truly create any new competitive advantages beyond survival of the (relatively) fittest?

How about the localization strategy of being 'the bank or credit union of '? Let’s set aside the fact that most organizations that proclaimed to be the bank of XYZ were probably not really the bank or credit union of anything outside of their own imagination. In this hyper-connected, hyper-globalized world, being merely local is meaningful to only a steadily dwindled segment of consumers. 

Sure, there are kernels of truth to each of these strategies. Having the scale to spread out increasing infrastructure costs is important, up to a point. And I chose the words 'merely local' for a reason. I think the real word the localists are looking for is 'relevant'. Being headquartered in my hometown is fine, I guess. More jobs for the local economy. But as a customer, what I really want is for you to be relevant to me — and many of the behaviors of the banking behemoths did little to make me feel that way.

Why It’s Different Now

Those basic strategies worked well enough for the last few hundred years, but until recently, the industry was basically undefeated because it won all of its games by default. Sure, we had large banks and small banks, and credit unions, and for a time, S&Ls and Savings Banks; but these were all just slightly different flavors of the same basic model.

Banking as a product and as a service had no real threat of substitution. But during just the last 5 to 10 years, the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, broadband connectivity and connected networks of all kinds have changed the nature of the game. Forever. Just as radio and movie theaters were disrupted by television, which was disrupted by videotapes, which were disrupted by DVDs, which were disrupted by streaming video, the disruption in banking has only just begun.

You can now live your entire financial life off the grid of traditional financial institutions — at least in your direct interactions. They still play a role behind the scenes, but the nameless, faceless utility that merely holds your insured deposits and ensures an efficient transfer of your funds from Point A to Point B is the very definition of a commodity trap.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Target Data Breach Can Be Opportunity for Banks


Banks and credit unions are taking differing approaches to dealing with the recent security breach involving credit cards and debit cards used at Target stores over the holidays. Some banks are identifying compromised debit or credit cards and issuing fresh cards immediately while other banks are taking a watch-and-wait stance, taking action on a case-by-case basis if fraud is detected.

Either way, many banks are using a proactive, multichannel approach for keeping customers informed which can build much sought after loyalty and trust.

In what may turn out to be the largest data breach of its kind, Target reported in December that hackers had stolen credit card and debit card information connected to as many as 40 million customers who shopped at Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Since then, Target has issued additional information that another 70 million customers may have had personal information compromised, including names, phone numbers and email addresses. 

Subsequently, Neiman Marcus revealed it too had been the victim of a security breach, and there are some reporting that the POS system hacking could extend to additional retailers.

The full magnitude of the damage will not likely be known until later in January, when customers receive and examine their monthly statements and call their banks, security experts have said. In past cases, it has taken 30 to 45 days for the vast majority of bad charges to surface. Unfortunately, in a scenario with so much publicity, the impact of the breach may be felt for months . . . or longer.

So, the question is - What is the best way to communicate around a data breach of this nature? In working with a leading communications tracking firm, Competiscan, I was able to see a variety of communication strategies involving multiple channels and a variety of resolutions to the Target data breach.
"In today's environment, it's not a matter of if a data breach will occur, but when it will occur, and how well you respond. Do everything you can to prevent data breaches, but also fully plan out how you will respond if a breach occurs. Today's media and consumer demands that two-pronged approach." - Brian Lapidus, COO, Kroll Fraud Solutions 

Target Communication

The one thing that should be part of any crisis plan is the reality that you might have to be in communication with hundreds of thousands of customers instantly. Unfortunately, while Target did 'go public' almost immediately after becoming aware of the situation, they were not prepared to handle the volume of calls or visits to their website/Facebook page that occurred. For instance, Target's initial notification post garnered over 3,500 comments and 1,600 shares in the first few days from customers concerned about their card security.

The same is true for the financial institutions that have been tracked. While some communicated with customer as early as December 20th (the day after the initial discovery), some organizations have not yet reached out to all customers to explain what has occurred, what precautions can be taken and how the bank is working on their behalf.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from January 2 to January 10, 40 per cent of people who shopped at Target during the period of the data breach had not been notified about the incident. Thirty-one per cent said they had been notified by Target and 28 per cent said they had been notified by their bank or credit card company.

This is an opportunity lost at a time when trust between customers and their financial institution is still fragile from the past financial crisis.
"More than 55 percent of respondents said the notification about a data breach occurred more than one month after the incident, and more than 50 percent of respondents rated the timeliness, clarity and quality of the notification as either fair or poor." - The Consumer's Report on Data Breach Notification

The day after the initial reports surfaced, Target emailed millions of customers it thought were affected, and for whom it had email addresses. It has done the same for the additional customers it's now found to be involved. 

The company also created a dedicated page on its website for the data breach, including resources about identity theft and credit reports. Target has said that it plans to offer a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to anyone who shopped in Target stores in the United States.  

Finally, Target also sent postal letters and posted a series of short YouTube videos to explain details around the security breach, what the company was doing about the situation, and a discount offer to customers. It also provided the first set of steps a customer could take to protect themselves and where they could go for additional information.

Target Letter to Customers
One of a series of YouTube videos from Target CEO to customers

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's Time For Personalization in Financial Services

In a post-crisis financial environment, customers are demanding solutions to satisfy their unique needs for money management. Additionally, they are showing preference for simpler products where benefits and risks are easy to understand and the feeling of control over the product increases their loyalty.

Therefore, banks and credit unions are facing a crossroads: acknowledge and embrace the demands of customers wanting more personalized and simplified services or try to push customers into a dated mass production model.

By Matthew Lifshotz, Director of Global Business Development for Choice Financial Solutions

From Cookie Cutter to Papering Over the Cracks 

Taking a look back in history, consumer products used to be built on a made-to-order basis, using expensive highly labor-intensive processes. To make things more affordable, companies began to adopt mass production technologies and techniques, creating a one-size-fits-all product line. 

When Henry Ford moved automobile production to the assembly-line model, revolutionizing manufacturing, he divided labor into standardized tasks that were put together on a moving line. The individual creation processes and unique personalization of previous years moved towards a repetitive blueprint that was now centered on the product, not the customer. The result of this innovative change was standardized production that had lower costs per vehicle for both the manufacturer and customer.

Ford realized, very quickly, that mass production allowed him to achieve economies of scale, a key to keeping prices low and gaining an edge on competition. As a result of this success, all types of companies (including financial services) have been utilizing this model of mass production: focused on building the most popular products at the most economical cost, assuming that customers will choose the options they are presented with.

However, over time, competition has become more intense and companies have started to offer a more diverse selection. As a result of this variety, customers realized that they could find solutions in the market closer to addressing their specific needs if they shopped around and paid less attention to traditional concepts such as brand loyalty.

As a consequence of this customer attitude and shift, companies are being forced to abandon the take-it-or-leave-it approach of mass production, focusing instead on a more robust product offering that would aid in their efforts to meet customer demands.

In today’s age, consumers are provided — some may say overwhelmed — by an ever-expanding variety of goods and services in many industries.  For example, since 1970:
  • The number of new vehicle models has risen from 140 to 270.
  • The number of TV channels has gone from 5 to over 200.
  • The U.S. market makes available to consumers more than 145 over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • There are more than 7,500 different prescription drugs.
  • Consumers can find over 3,000 types of beers and 50 different brands of bottled water in the market place.
  • There are more than 350 breakfast cereals. 

A lot has changed since Henry Ford and the assembly line production of the Model T and I am comfortable in saying that the mass-production model will no longer satisfy the overall customer demand. While customization is a recognized strategy in many business-to-business models, today’s retail consumer markets are also motivating companies to increasingly offer personalized solutions.

It’s important to note that personalization is not jargon for variety. Variety represents a producer’s best guess about what consumers will buy and offering quantity. Companies that personalize wait until they know precisely what the customer wants to create quality.
“Brand Keys, a research firm that studies customer loyalty, found that personalization is 30 percent of what draws a person to a brand today, as opposed to only six percent in 1997.”
A paradigm shift is taking place, from a product centric approach (off-the-rack) to a customer centric approach (made-to-order), where customer involvement shifts from just purchase to the development as well. It’s become more important than ever for companies, especially those in financial services, to be nimble and respond quickly to this market demand.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Customer Experience Innovation in Financial Services


Expectations from today's consumer are outpacing the ability for banks and credit unions to keep up. The digital consumer is hyper-connected, highly informed and demands a highly personalized approach with regards to communication, product development and customer service.

On January 13, 2014, I was the featured guest for a global Twitter chat hosted by @IBMbigdata entitled, "Customer Experience Innovation in Banking". During the hour, there were 158 participants, 1,095 posts and over 6M impressions!

Below is a sampling of the interchange (including my responses)

Q1: How does today's customer behavior and expectations in a constantly changing technological world impact banks?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's Time to Reinvent Mobile Banking


It's time to shut down the mobile banking operations at most banks. I say this after watching the development of mobile banking sites worldwide and realizing that most traditional banks don't understand the needs of the consumers they serve or the competition they face.

Mobile banking should not be a delivery channel for branch-based banking. It should be a contextual experience, with a clean design, simple interface and engaging platform to manage money. Unfortunately, most mobile banking sites look like miniaturized online banking websites. This is a problem as we try to serve Customer 3.0.

Last week, AXA Banque in France launched a new 'mobile-first' offering called Soon (website translated to English). Similar to other pure-play mobile banks worldwide like Moven, Simple, GoBank, FidorHello, etc., Soon was initially introduced using a registration/invite model to allow for orderly scalability. Not a bank as such, Soon is a set of services accessible via a mobile application and backed by AXA Bank.

In an exclusive interview with RaphaĆ«l Krivine, head of direct banking for AXA Banque, "We started to engage with users in mid-2013, presenting the concept of the offer and the main functionalities to get feedback and comments (especially via our introduction video). It was very useful for us to validate the overall concept and to finalize developments in the right direction." He continued, "The offer is now available for the people who registered last year as a way to thank them for having been supportive from the very beginning.

Unlike virtually all traditional mobile banking sites, Soon (and the neo-banks mentioned above) rethinks the way mobile banking is done by designing a bank for the smartphone as opposed to simply providing access to banking products through a mobile device. This was done at AXA by creating an entirely different brand and mobile platform within the bank. This allowed for an alternative digital infrastructure, a lean start-up mode, open architecture and the ability to view banking from the customer's (as opposed to the bank's) perspective.

With a significantly lower cost structure, the emergence of pure-play mobile banks feels like a similar trend in the 1990s when direct online banks were in vogue. Some of these banks still exist such as First Direct and ING overseas and Capital One 360 (originally ING Direct US), USAAAlly and Discover Bank in the U.S.

While many traditional banks have imitated some of the direct bank advantages, deposits at the top four direct banks have grown at three times the industry average according to TNS Global. Interestingly, while once having a pricing advantage compared to traditional banks, consumers also rate these direct organizations as 'more convenient' than traditional bricks and mortar banks.

The question is, will traditional banks ever fully embrace the process of managing money through mobile as opposed to simply providing mobile access to accounts? Will they lose the 'convenience advantage' with the mobile channel also?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Top 8 Financial Marketing Resolutions For a Successful 2014

For the past three years, I have published an article on resolutions bank and credit union marketers should make for the upcoming year. While these posts have always been extremely popular and well read, many marketers still have difficulty achieving some of the most important resolutions.

Despite this lack of success by some, I am again providing suggested resolutions for financial marketers since research shows that people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals.

When I published my first financial marketing resolution post in 2011(Ten Bank Marketer Resolutions for 2011), the primary emphasis was on replacing lost fee income caused by the Card Act, Reg. E and the Durbin Amendment. Most of the other resolutions addressed ways to either generate new revenues or reduce costs. I did discuss the need to test social media marketing, deliver on the mobile banking promise and reconfigure the branch model, but these were not the highest priorities in 2011.

My resolution post for 2012 (10 Resolutions Bank Marketers Can't Ignore in 2012) enlisted the support of more than 20 global banking industry leaders to help develop suggested strategies for the upcoming year. While the focus of many of the resolutions were similar to the prior year (communication channel mix, customer centricity, social media testing and building share of wallet), discussion expanded to include the importance of leveraging big data and embracing innovation.

As with any list of resolutions, last year's banking industry leader crowdsourcing post (22 Industry Leaders Provide New Years Resolutions for Bank Marketers) included several resolutions from prior years that still presented a challenge, such as enhancing the customer experience, improving measurement of results, integrating the mobile channel and continuing to innovate. The major difference last year was the increasing importance of focus and grabbing the lower hanging fruit due to all of the distractions caused by new regulations and compliance initiatives.

This year, I again collected ideas from some of the most prominent names in the banking industry in the development of my top resolutions for financial marketers. I also researched trends in other industries that are served by my firm, New Control. While some of the suggested resolutions are similar to those in the past, the impact of digital shopping, big data, the mobile channel and a contextual customer experience is evident.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Amazon's Mayday Button Could Revolutionize Banking

It's time for banks and credit unions to consider the potential of providing mobile banking customers single-click live customer support similar to Amazon's Mayday button that is embedded on the latest Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

Similar to a virtual version of Apple's store-based Genius Bar, without needing to wait in line or leave your house, a banking version of Mayday could provide both basic customer support as well as specialized or advisory services that could revolutionize both mobile and online banking.

This concept may seem like a major leap into the future for an industry that has yet to fully embrace 24x7 'push to talk' or text-based customer support for the mobile or online customer or extensive video banking at physical locations, but as technology advances and more customers are relying on mobile, tablet and online banking, there is significant potential. And, with the desire to create powerful emotional connections with customers, live video may replace the telephone for customer support.

The Amazon service is easily accessible with a button on the Kindle HDX device home page. Press the Mayday engagement button and a customer sees a remote Amazon Tech Advisor on their screen within seconds (over the holidays, Amazon beat their goal of 15 second response with a 9 second average wait). While a customer can see the live advisor, the advisor can't see the customer, just their screen. Once credentials are authorized, Tech Advisors can annotate the screen, change settings, download apps and do anything needed to help a customer step-by-step.

"With a single tap, an Amazon expert will appear on your Fire HDX and can co-pilot you through any feature on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you - whatever works best. Mayday is available 24x7, 365 days a year, and it's free," stated Amazon CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos. The commercial for the Mayday button is a great illustration.

While some people were initially concerned about privacy, the advisor can't access a customer's camera or access information within the computer that is private. Only audio is transmitted back to the advisor.

For Amazon, the Mayday support teams reside within the normal call center. While these advisors most likely didn't replace any of Amazon's other support channels, there could be additional resources that were needed (Amazon does not reveal details).

Supporting this capability required video-equipped computers and a de-cluttered environment for the advisors to work that appears more professional than a traditional call center cubical. For Amazon, they actually put each agent into well branded 'mini-studios'. Video agents also needed to be 'camera ready' based on wardrobe, visual appearance and even body language.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 10 Retail Banking Strategy Posts of 2013

It has been an another amazing year for Bank Marketing Strategy in 2013. The blog was named a top financial industry blog for the second straight year by The Financial Brand and bank and credit union industry followers viewed articles more than 600,000 times during the year.

But which of my 72 posts in 2013 were the most popular? Based on readership, it looks like posts dealing with banking strategies, mobile banking, new competition, and distribution topped the list over the past twelve months. Readers also read my crowdsourcing posts in record number, where dozens of global industry leaders contributed their insights.

Below are this year's top 10 articles with links to each post.

Banking Leaders Predict Major 2013 Trends

Not surprisingly, the most read post during the past year was also one of the first posts of the year, where more than 50 financial industry leaders provided their insights and predictions for what they believed would occur during 2013.

Predictions included thoughts on payments, big data, delivery channels, marketing technology, product and segmentation opportunities, competition and compliance. Many of the contributions were spot on, while some were ahead of their time.

Interestingly, the 2014 Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Prediction post published last week also is also a top 10 article for 2013.

Moven: From Mobile Banking to Mobile Money

Curiosity about new financial industry players like Moven, Simple, GoBank and new product introductions like Bluebird from American Express continued to generate a large number of readers in 2013.

While these mobile-first banks may have been ahead of their times a couple years ago, much of their vision of simplicity, an improved user experience and integrated personal financial management tools are quickly becoming table stakes in the battle for the mobile banking customer. This post illustrated how Moven continues to be one of the leaders in being able to leverage the power of the smartphone as a payment device with the ability to provide immediate feedback with every spending decision.

Banking Leaders Discuss 2014 Strategic Planning Priorities

To assist with bank and credit union strategic planning processes, I enlisted the help of more than 30 banking leaders from across the globe in July to provide thoughts on the priorities that should be considered in the upcoming year.

Despite responses coming from disparate locals, the recommendations were surprisingly consistent, with a focus on enhancing the customer experience, better defining mobile positioning, integrating delivery channels, reducing enterprise costs, leveraging data, improving sales and marketing effectiveness, defining a differentiation strategy and continuing to focus on revenue, security and compliance.