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Financial Crisis Will Speed Adoption of Mobile Banking

According to TowerGroup, 2009 will be a pivotal year in the growth of mobile banking—and the added burden of a recession may be the catalyst. The latest research note from the firm, "From Niche Play to Mainstream Delivery Channel: US Mobile Banking Forecast, 2008-13," says this will be the year mobile banking goes from niche service mainstream offering as people find the need to keep a closer eye on their finances.

TowerGroup estimates that mobile banking usage will grow from 10 million active users in 2009 to over 53 million active users in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of 51.8 percent.

The mobile channel is increasingly being perceived by consumers and banks as a way for people to track and control their financial status in a more immediate manner during the economic crisis. TowerGroup also says the proliferation of mobile devices and smart phones indicate a growing mentality among consumers of being "networked," something that is changing people's daily lives, including finance. To this end, TowerGroup believes that mobility will be a major disruptive force in the financial services industry.

"Financial services executives understand that mobile banking is a bridge to much more feature-rich, value-added mobile payments solutions," said Charul Vyas, an analyst in TowerGroup's emerging technologies practice, in a statement. "The ubiquity of mobile devices, coupled with customers' craving for information on the go, is creating the perfect opportunity for banks to extend the reach of their banking services using the most personal possession for consumers—the mobile phone. At a time when every customer counts, mobile banking is an avenue for banks to reach new audiences and grow their business."

TowerGroup recommends the following best practices to banks as they take the next step in their mobile strategies:

  • Leverage other delivery channels to create synergies with the self-service model and utilize the full spectrum of device capabilities.
  • Develop smart integration models that give banks new segmentation and personalization capabilities for true one-to-one customer outreach based on customers' relationship desires.
  • Think outside the bank's customer base to capture new customers such as current unbanked customers with no bank accounts, ethnic markets and new generational users, such as the Generation Y segment, which desires self-service, innovation and paperless electronic transactions with no need for human interaction.
  • Create tight relationships between mobile banking and ATM vendors to build stronger ties with customers that currently do not have a relationship with a bank.

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