A Smaller Bank Looks At Its 2013 Budget and Sees Mobile and CRM

What does Josh Everton, eBanking Manager of Bank of American Fork, see when he looks to 2013? “Our product development team is looking at one thing for 2013: mobile, mobile, mobile. Last year was security, this year will be mobile.

“We saw a steady 7% to 10% increase in online banking this year,” Everton told Bank Innovation. “But we saw a 900% rise in mobile.”

In recent years, the bank has been seeing a 10% drop in branch visits annually.

The Bank of American Fork, which has assets totaling $940 million, offers something of a test case for how smaller banks in the U.S. are planning for innovation next year.

Most of the bank’s customers use Apple products, so mobile banking products at BofAF are developed for the iPhone first. An iPad app will be released later this year, for example. The bank’s existing iPhone app will be expanded to include peer-to-peer payments, and the personal financial management solution that was built in Flash for the website will be converted to HTML5.

Everton expects that chat and video banking will be included in both the smartphone and tablet apps. “Another big purchase for the coming year,” Everton said, “will be CRM integration” with the core system.

What will that CRM integration look like? “The CRM is not just information-gathering,” Everton said. “It’s something that can talk to campaigns. It can tell the frontline about offers. And we can tie its functionality in from billing side. All aspects of the bank need to talk to each other. What you buy, essentially, is a big framework. Then you plug into it.”

As many bankers are seeing, Everton expects to continue mingling his bank’s channels.

“The digital and physical will be more connected,” he said. “You’ll walk into a branch and the CRM will be triggered.”

The Bank of American Fork is looking at branches differently as well. “Future branches will have a smaller footprint,” Everton said. “We’ll have kiosks to demo products and in our original branch, we’ll have a technology center with iPads and iPod Touches. We’re looking at a more retail-oriented model, like an Apple Store, a mall-sized store. You’ll be able to sign documents on an iPad. If you need privacy for a transaction there will be offices, but, overall, we’re looking at a smaller environment.”

The bank is also considering “superbranches” to anchor regions, in which there will be community spaces for gatherings, lunches, and community events.

Given the increasing importance of mobile banking, the call center has been segmented to handle tech support calls.

“The type of calls has changed a lot,” he said. “It’s less about balance inquiries and lost cards and more about login and browser problems, tech shop-type calls.”

The bank has its eye on Gen Y customers, as well. “Gen Y is a big generation, demographically, like the Baby Boomers. There’s a lot of them. Their current projected income is $1 trillion, and that will grow four to five times in the next 10 years.”

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One Comment

  1. Wiki defines Innovative events as being characterized by the creation of new ideas or things; forward looking; ahead of current thinking. Applying this test to CRM integration and Mobile very clearly suggests that neither is Innovative.

    Banks are to be applauded for admitting their past mistakes and especially for any effort that seeks to implement corrective action to remedy the damage caused by past errors (in the case of The Bank of American Fork it is the deployment CRM integration and Mobile technologies). I can only hope that Banks deploying technology have developed a thoughtful strategy that details how tools (such as CRM integration and Mobile) will be leveraged with their current and prospective customer base, and how new products & services supported in part by these tools, will lead to greater loyalty, revenue growth and ROE.

    No shame is admitting mistakes, but let’s call a spade a spade. Implementation of technology at most Community Banks – and certainly the example sites in this article of CRM integration and Mobile – are hardly worthy of being showcased as an example of Innovation. Innovation is difficult business… it requires an appetite for measured risk and willingness to accept the fact that many initiatives will not succeed. Too bad that very few (if any) Community Banks have shown the capability or the expertise to approach Innovation in any real sense of the term.

    Converting Branches into lounges, coffee shops, yoga locations, conference centers and the like meets the classic definition of ‘Putting Lipstick on a Pig’. I continue to be impressed that some Bankers believe that they are well suited to compete in a variety of new industries, while ROE performance in their core business fails to exceed hurdle rates. Branches or Technology? What Do Your Customers Want?

    Forcing customers into Bank Branches to conduct everyday transactions just to show off your newest toys such as Kiosks, Ipads and iPod Touches is, pardon the language… Absurd! Why not enable the same capability for your customers via remote channels… online & mobile. Why not use the millions in savings (real estate, technology, staff, etc.) to better engage the customer base with the objective of being more relevant to the customer, and at the same time, growing the Bank’s revenue and ROE!?

    Oh, and if you think that GenY’s cumulative trillions of dollars in income is going to help your Bank, then I have a beautiful bridge to show you … and it just happens to be For Sale. Read here, here, and here.

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