Help is on the way for banks struggling with their wireless delivery strategies. Bank of Montreal, the first to roll out wireless banking services in both Canada and the United States (through its Harris Bank subsidiary), is offering white-label wireless services to North American financial organizations.
The wireless service allows banks to build brand and image, and develop a closer relationship with their mobile clients. "What we're going to do is provide banks a service to allow them to wirelessly enable either their banking or brokerage offering," said Mark Dickelman, vice president of m-commerce and wireless at BMO.
The wireless offering comes on the cusp of rapid growth in the wireless space (see Cover Story, page 24). By 2005, TowerGroup predicts there will be 35 million wireless subscribers in North America and the financial services industry will spend $699 million on wireless IT services.
The BMO service lets banks deliver their products though wireless devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants, like Palms and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. It's a "soup to nuts" solution, said Dickelman, who is also a senior vice president at Chicago-based Harris.
BMO has struck a deal to license the wireless platform of Toronto-based 724 Solutions, which provides wireless services to financial institutions. The bank's technology division, Emfisys- which provides IT planning, strategy and development services-will now use 724's platform combined with its own "lifestyle" wireless service (www.veev.com). BMO has offered the Veev service in Canada since 1999 and last July extended it to Harris.