"Brandon McGee, Industry Insider, Mobile Banking Guru...He is not only the real deal, a genuine industry insider, but also knows exactly what's on the minds of financial service pros as they contemplate the various mobile options." - Jim Bruene, Publisher & Founder, Online Financial Innovations

"Going Mobile. Local executive carves niche as national expert on fast-growing banking-industry technology trend" - Scott Olson, Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ)

"Brandon McGee, the industry's unofficial ambassador for mobile banking" 

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mobile Banking on YouTube

Check it out - here are a few demos posted on YouTube.
I can't say for sure, but from the screen, font, and buttons it looks just like my Razor and based on the speed it's most likely not 3G.

Citi - Mobile Banking Television Spot

It's official ... mobile banking is now being promoted by Citi via a 30 second television spot. Unfortunately, Citi isn't quite as integrated in their marketing as Apple so the spots are not posted on their website, but here's the premise. A husband and wife are in the car when she realizes that they forgot to make the car payment. She whips out her phone, clicks a few buttons, and...done. Overall, it's cute spot - they work in a couple lines about it being the final payment and are scared that car will far apart (and the rear-view mirror falls from the roof). However, the most critical element here is that we have a bank with deep pockets spending BIG BUCKS (i.e. ABC - Prime Time Programming) to promote the mobile service - this is GOOD!

I just found the Citi Mobile spot on YouTube. This is much better than my explanation above.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wal-Mart and Mobile Banking?

Recently there was an article in the New York Times titled: At Wal-Mart, a Back Door into Banking. You can click the link to read the full article, but the "cliff-notes" version is that Wal-Mart is going to continue to provide financial services even if the federal regulators won't let them own a bank.

In case you weren't already aware Wal-Mart currently offers: credit cards, investment services, check printing, and credit report services. The most recent news is that Wal-Mart is going to begin offering a prepaid debit card targeted at the "un-banked." However, the sentence that really caught my attention is that they plan to, "allow them to check their balances online or on mobile phone, pay certain bills or withdraw cash from A.T.M.’s." (New York Times - Barbaro and Dash 6/21/07)

The big question I want to know is, "what will there mobile service look like?" Which solution will they go with? I would almost certainly think they'd utilize a vendor - but which one? Keep an eye on this one because the vendor that scores this account will have tremendous resources at their disposal.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mobile Banking - Test and Monitor

I just had an "Ah - Ha" moment and wanted to share it with the group. I've been researching the mobile banking space for some time now and admittedly the focus of my energy has been on the design and implementation of the service. However, I knew in the back of my mind there was an important task that I had not yet figured out - testing and monitoring. I assumed (which always scares me) that there was a vendor that could help, but had not identified any of the players - until now. I just finished a Webinar, put on by Foreward Financial, and learned something very interesting from Manny Gonzalez (Keynote - Senior Director of Mobile Technologies). Keynote has a number of tools and services that can help financial institutions to, "independently test and monitor your mobile content, applications, and services on real devices across multiple mobile operator networks around the world." (Keynote.com) Check it out...

News in Mobile Banking

There are a couple of interesting articles that I'd like to bring to your attention.

The first is a post by Jim Bruene on his blog - Mobile Money & Banking. Jim was able to attend the inaugural Mobile Commerce Summit put on by SourceMedia earlier this week, and in his post Jim mentions a number of interesting findings. One in particular that was disappointing to see was the area he titled "Most discouraging stat" Check it out...

The second is by Steve Bills in today's edition of the American Banker. I won't go into specifics but it discusses a number of positive findings related to the testing that Bancorp South has recently performed (i.e. utilizing the Firethorn product). Login to American Banker to read the full story or be sure to grab the paper edition.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mobile Banking Security

In order to facilitate the growth and development of mobile banking we as an industry must take care of "job one" which is providing a safe and secure channel for our clients. With that in mind here is a new product from Tyfone called rhapsody. Read more...

New Booz-Allen-Hamilton Research

If you haven't seen it yet check out the new research findings from Booz-Allen-Hamilton. Specifically, I'll point to the section titled "Multichannel Integration, Only Where it Matters" where the report states, "A limited number of banks are offering all major channels with extras such as Skype and SMS, mobile phone banking, and special channels for the deaf. However, overall performance is weak, with even the best-in-class banks failing to achieve excellence in this area." Booz-Allen-Hamilton "Striving for Growth" by Alan Gemes, Fabienne Konik, Caroline Moss

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Lesson in Mobile Banking

I know that what I'm about to write is nothing new, but I feel compelled to say it anyway. The world as we know it continues to shrink each and every day, and we have the internet to thank.

This morning, while I was researching mobile banking, I came across a picture that shows how one bank is promoting their new mobile banking service - no big deal right? Wrong, the picture I found was for First National Bank in Maun. Oh, I'm sorry Maun is in the Okavango Delta Region. Still nothing...don't feel bad I had no idea either - it's in Africa. If you'd like to find one of their branches you can check out their website (yep in English); plus, you can go on that Safari that you've been dreaming about while you're there. If you'd like to learn more about Maun here's a great link.

Lesson learned: Americans, myself included, assume that we're always on the cutting edge of everything. However, the truth is that many times we're way behind. That fact is exponentially true for the mobile banking arena.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mobile Banking & Payments - Hits the Mark!

Bankers – Listen Up!

Much like you, I’m bombarded on a daily basis by vendors and research firms offering the latest and greatest report for the low, low price of $XXX.XX and I often wonder, “is it worth it?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that this one IS. If you’re thinking about throwing your hat into the mobile banking ring – I suggest that you purchase and read “Mobile Banking & Payments 2.0 (Leveraging the Third Screen).” Now…I know you’ll say, “but Brandon – can’t I find the same information on the internet,” and I’d have to answer NO. I’ve tried and yes you’ll find some of the information, but it’ll take you weeks (i.e. speaking from experience) and at the end you will not have found all of the information contained in this report.

Disclaimer: I have none! I’m not being paid or incented to write this post. I just truly feel like the report is top notch.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fronde - Mobile Banking

Mobile banking vendor Fronde, a native of New Zealand, has made the cover of Bank Technology News (BTN).
Read the story Mobile Banking: Get Ready for the New Zealand Invasion

Geezeo and Mobile Banking

If you haven't had the chance - you should check out Geezeo. They are in beta with an account aggregation tool that is designed to be accessed via your mobile phone. Yes - I know that account aggregation hasn't taken off the way many vendors thought, but it's a very useful tool none the less.

The idea is obviously that you tell Geezeo where all of your accounts, loans, and credit cards are located. Then, when you send them an SMS message they return the balance information for all the accounts to your cell phone. It's really slick because it eliminates the need to log into 6 different places to simply check a balance. I was a little disappointed that they didn't support IE 6 or my Blackberry browser, but they did a good job disclosing which browsers they support from the beginning. Plus, they note that more browsers will be added soon. Once in the system, I was quickly able to pull in a few of my accounts, but did run into a hurdle or two on the others.

All in all a very neat product that I look forward to testing again once it's out of beta. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Pandora's Box of Mobile Banking

Well...it's official! Pandora's box is wide open. Just yesterday I read an article where a bank in the UK is not only giving away mobile banking, but also giving customers a financial incentive to enroll. Specifically they are offering 10 pounds (or approximately $20 US) to the first 20,000 people that signup.

Now, please don't misunderstand, I'm a huge supporter of premiums, gifts, etc. for opening new checking accounts, but that's an easy one to justify financially. There is tremendous value in attracting new checking account clients. Mobile banking on the other hand is brand new. Shoot...at this point even the technology leaders are still trying to get the service developed and implemented.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was hoping we won't go down that path just yet, but "it is what it is." So, keep your eyes and ears open. If this catches on in the U.S. the price tag for offering mobile banking just got a little more salty.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Research from Aite

Mobile Banking Adoption Strategies in the United States

"The report, based on a March 2007 survey of 22 of the top 100 U.S. deposit institutions, found that over 90% of banks surveyed responded that the ability to provide greater convenience to their customers is an important or very important factor in the decision to roll out a mobile banking service. Nearly half of these banks view the service as a defensive response and are considering adding mobile banking to avoid being left behind the competition."

Aite Group, LLC - Boston, MA, June 11, 2007

Friday, June 8, 2007

Mobile Banking - Inside the Consumers Mind

Here's an interesting article that I just found posted on the CNet website. The body of the article is the decent, but the really powerful information are the 166 comments written by the readers at the bottom. I've combed through a lot of research up to this point, but this is the first time where I've been able to see the verbatim responses from the people weighing in.

To no surprise one of the biggest concerns is - security.


Check this one out - it's worth it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mobile Banking Resources

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've added some new sections to the right-hand navigation. You now have a one-stop resource for mobile banking vendors, tools, and even a listing of banks that are "live" with their mobile banking service (divided by solution):

* WAP - Mobile Banking
* Rich UX - Mobile Banking
* Mobile Banking Vendors
* Mobile Banking Tools
* Other Mobile Sites

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mobile Banking Crash Course

If you are interested in jumping into the mobile banking arena there are basically 3 potential options to choose from:

1) SMS (Short Message Service)
2) WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)
3) Rich UX (Rich User Experience - i.e. custom/standalone application)

Clairmail - Hot in Mobile Banking News

Today the hot news in the industry seems to be centered about Clairmail. For those not familiar with Clairmail, they are one of the leading providers of mobile banking within the SMS delivery channel.

The first story I came across was the hiring of Bernard Fraenkel and the second was signing the Bank of Stockton as a client.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Beginning

If I'm correct, you're reading this today because you're in the exact same position I was approximately a month and a half ago. The phone rang and on the other end of the line was a senior bank manager. Your mission - figure out "mobile banking." What is it, how do we get in the game, who are the players, can we make money at it...

You, being a little naive, graciously accept the challenge thinking, "I have a cell phone - how difficult can it be?" And so the journey begins - you open the search engine of your choice and begin delving into the abyss of blogs, websites, searches, and research white papers. Then reality sets in - this is not going to be an easy task.

So...I've developed this blog for bankers. This site will be a resource where we can share thoughts, ideas and research. It will be a place to separate fact from fiction, and a resource to help folks understand the differences between WAP, SMS, Rich UX and all of the other acronyms being tossed about.

My goal will be to post the latest and greatest about mobile banking every couple of days. Please check back frequently and feel free to share your opinions often.