I recently heard about a new approach to aggregation that a firm called Mint is taking. Essentially, it uses Yodlee's platform to aggregate users' credit card and banking balances and then analyzes the data to recommend other products and services to customers. It's an interesting approach, but one that ultimately relies on the consumer wanting to be sold to.However, the fact that Mint is at least trying to do something with the aggregated data is refreshing in its own right and actually highlights a problem that we have always felt the Yodlees of the world have failed to deliver: What does one actually do with the aggregated data? In research we've conducted for both our Bank and Brokerage Website Audits, consumers have routinely given aggregation a low priority when it comes to desired website features. Indeed, after the initial infatuation with Yodlee several years ago, we have watched as firms have removed the service outright or at least relegated it to less-valuable real estate on their websites.
Our suspicion was that the reason for this lack of acceptance by clients was that other than seeing all of your information in one place, there was nothing that could be done with the data. What decisions did this help clients to make? For banks to really reap the benefits of aggregation, they need to add some analytics to the service that would entice clients to sign up for it. Doing so would also allow banks to differentiate their offerings from their competitors.
As an example of how to do this, one can look outside the banking industry to Fidelity. Their Full View application is built on Yodlee, but they take it a step further and integrate into other areas of the client relationship. In particular, for Income Management Account clients, the Yodlee (er, Full View) data actually feeds the monthly client statement as well as the IMA analysis tool. Thus, Fidelity IMA clients have a very compelling reason to set up their outside accounts on Full View.Is account aggregation making a comback? A new approach may present a new opportunity.