"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" 

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mobile Banking News

Here are a few articles/links that I've recently discovered or are worth revisiting:

mBanking Blog by Hannes van Rensburg

FAME - "The Forum to Advance the Mobile ExperienceT (FAMET) is a member advocacy group and strategic authority leadership initiative to accelerate marketing programs and research around advancing the wireless user experience."

Microsoft, Sirit To Add NFC Technology To Windows Mobile - "Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and RFID vendor Sirit plan to collaborate on adding proximity technologies to the Windows Mobile operating system."

Walked Into A Wall Lately? You May Be a Mobile Pioneer. - "According to new research from InsightExpress, a leading provider of digital marketing research, mobile consumers can be segmented into three new and distinct behavioral profiles: Mobile Pioneers, Mobile Wannabes and Mobile Traditionalists. This research, the third installment from the companys ongoing mobile research program, indicates that when it comes to usage, two ends of the mobile spectrum exist."

Qualcomm buys Irish mobile ad targeting company - "With the acquisition, Qualcomm hopes to help network operators deliver more personalized advertising and other content to mobile phone subscribers. Xiam's main product, Mobile Personal Offers System (MPOS), personalizes mobile services by profiling subscribers and offering them content and advertising that it considers most relevant to them."

Buxfer - Mobile Money Manager - "Buxfer has gotten some attention lately as one of the first two sites to use Google Gears for Mobile which lets you use web sites even when you have no network connection."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Suncorp Mobile Banking

On March 19th it was announced that Suncorp (Australia) launched an internally developed browser based solution (mobile.suncorp.com.au). The article titled "Suncorp dives into mobile banking" was written by Mahesh Sharma and can be accessed at this link.

However, there are two reasons that I would also encourage you to view their product demo.

First, I really like that their homepage offers the client the ability to navigate to the PC site (see below).

Second, this is the first browser site that I have seen where they have incorporated "hints" into the page. If a client doesn't have an unlimited data plan this could actually be a negative; however, I feel that it's an effective way of educating client and could translate into more return visitors (see below).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prevent Fraud with Client Education

Earlier I received word about a new article written by Brian Krebs in the Washington Post titled "The Anatomy of a Vishing Scam." This scam in particular involved text messaging, and targeted clients of Motorola Employees Credit Union, Boulder Valley Credit Union, and Bank of the Cascades. However, the technology is in no way to blame. Unfortunately, as is frequently the case, this scam was perpetuated by under-educated consumers. The article states, "Victims who called the number reached an automated voice mail box that prompted callers to key in their credit card number, expiration date and PIN to verify their information."

To read the full article click here >>

Thanks AFT!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank the team at AFT for their generous hospitality earlier this week. The picture above was taken with my iPhone from balcony of my room - ahhhh.

Also, I'd like to thank my fellow panelists Drew Sievers and Lisa Stanton. The session was very well attended and I believe we were able to shine some light on a numbers topics within the mobile arena.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

FSTC for Mobile Banking and Payments

I received word last week that there's a new project in development at FSTC (Financial Services Technology Consortium). The initiative is titled "Mobile Payments and Banking - Identify and document technology-enabled opportunities for banks in the mobile arena."

The project is being sponsored by
* TCH (The Clearing House)
* FED (Federal Reserve Banks)
* ABA (American Banker’s Association)
The proposal continues to say, "FSTC will also gain significant expertise from PaymentsNation, BITS (Financial Services Round Table) and NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association)."

The background for the project reads as follows, "As with prior network technology evolutions, the mobile channel is evolving even as banks attempt to utilize it. This situation has created issues for early adopter banks, as well as questions for the industry about how to structure their relationships with the new players brought to the financial services table by the promise of opportunities in the mobile arena. These questions span the entire gamut of network dynamics – regulatory, legal, technology, business models, consumer adoption and financial. As in earlier network evolutions, each of these dynamics will have to be thoroughly analyzed and understood by the banking industry in order to move toward an efficient, effective utilization of this new technology. There are lessons to be learned from the deregulation of the monopoly AT&T network in the 1980’s and in the evolution of the Internet in the late 1990’s." Click here to access the project proposal >>

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Harris Study - Mobile Banking & Mobile Payments

"A new Harris Interactive study finds that mobile phone users are increasingly comfortable making banking and purchase transactions while on-the-go – a virtual taboo until now. The survey finds 16 percent of mobile phone subscribers already use mobile banking services, with 60 percent of these people using the services at least once a week. Many others presently not banking and buying on-the-go expressed interest in mobile banking, with 35 percent open to checking bank account balances and transferring funds via their mobile devices. A third of those surveyed (33 percent) also said they would like to receive text message alerts from their financial institutions." Click to read the full release >>

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mobile Banking & Technology Providers

Yesterday TowerGroup announced a new report titled, "The Ignition of US Mobile Banking in 2008: Do the Core Banking Vendors Hold the Key?"

The press release states, "Mobile banking is already a strategic business and technology priority for the top U.S. banks. While these major players have the financial and technical resources to make a strategic commitment to the mobile channel, most mid-tier and small banks are innovation and/or cost- challenged on this front. New research from TowerGroup finds that core banking technology vendors have a big role to play in helping mid-tier and small institutions take advantage of this emerging channel that will soon be a cost of doing business."

In the course of full disclosure I have not read the complete report; however, I do agree with the general premise. In fact, next Tuesday (March 18th) I will be a panelist along with Drew Sievers (CEO - mFoundry) and Lisa Stanton (CEO - Monitise) for the AFT conference in San Diego. Ironically, the topic is mobile banking and the participants will include the leading technology providers in the country. If you're interested I think there's still time to register - click here to learn more >>

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mobile Payments--A Growing Threat

There's a new report out from the U.S. Department of State titled "Mobile Payments - A Growing Threat." The report begins, "Unfortunately, while fighting the twin threats of money laundering and terrorist financing, we are also witnessing a plethora of new, high-tech value transfer systems that can be abused. Some of the most innovative are electronic payment products. FATF calls them "new payment methods" or NPMs. They are also sometimes called "e-money" or "digital cash."

Click to read the full article >>

Friday, March 7, 2008

Update on mFoundry-Citi-SK Mobile Banking

I've now spoken with both Citi and Drew Sievers (CEO - mFoundry) and here's the scoop, "mFoundry will be supporting the Citi - SK Telecom joint venture with technology and services and as Steve Bills (American Banker) notes in his article, the Citi Mobile app that was built using the mFoundry platform will serve as the foundation for their efforts in the U.S."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mobile Banking from SKT and Citi

Today it was announced that, "SK Telecom will be developing the mobile banking software and hardware systems for Citibank customers in Hong Kong and major cities in the United States first...After testing the mobile banking system, the firm will then move onto mobile payment and electronic coupon services, Kang said. The joint venture will be run by Steven Kietz, who oversaw e-commerce and direct banking initiatives at Citi."

First, let me congratulate Steven Kietz. I had the good fortune of meeting Steven at the Finovate conference last fall, and was extremely impressed with his insight and candor in discussing the mobile arena.

Next, in case it hasn't clicked, let me point out that Citi is mFoundrys' premier client. Obviously, the press release didn't cover how this affects the future of the Citi/mFoundry relationship; however, with $8 million invested I would be surprised if there wasn't a significant change. This is purely speculation, but perhaps this news is related to Rebecca Buckman's article in the Wall St. Journal titled "In Silicon Valley, Start-Ups Begin Hitting the Brakes."

LinkedIn Goes Mobile

Brandon Duncan of LinkedIn says, "Today, I'd like to announce LinkedIn mobile for any Web enabled wireless phones that use the wireless application protocol (WAP). What that allows you to do is access LinkedIn from any mobile device ranging from your Blackberry to iPhone." The url to access the site is http://m.linkedin.com/

To read the full post and view a short video on the solution click here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cavion Mobile Banking - Harland

Harland Financial Solutions has recently announced the launch of their new mobile banking solution - Cavion.

"Mobile banking has progressed from a trendy offering to a necessity in today's competitive marketplace. Harland Financial Solutions offers Moblie Banking Professional as an integrated component of Internet banking. The tight integration provides your financial institution the ability to define the specific features that are available to mobile users."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Please - Abandon Mobile Banking Plans.

Earlier today I ran across this post on the Bank Technology News website - “Will banks abandon full-service mobile banking?” In short, while I disagree with some of the ancillary comments made by the respondents I certainly agree that mobile banking will not be abandoned. In fact, I would urge any institution that is not currently working towards a solution to do so quickly; otherwise, you risk the chance of being at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Now, in the current environment there are very few clients that will leave your institution because you do not have mobile banking. However, client retention is only one-half of the “organic growth” equation. If an institution wants to truly grow they must also acquire new clients, and to attract new business you must have a complete product offering.

Still not sure?

Lets use FREE checking as an example. A few years ago I worked for Union Federal Bank ($4 Billion Assets / #3 in Indianapolis Market). At the time we were experiencing solid growth and consistently achieved our revenue goals. Then one day we were introduced to the concept of FREE checking. At the time, I remember being dumb-founded that we would pay a consultant to help us implement FREE checking. Yet, one year after launch we had doubled our previous years’ sales performance and the strategy made complete sense. Where did those accounts come from? We didn’t open 40 new branches and the population in the state of Indiana did not double over night. The answer is that we TOOK the accounts from our competitors.

On second thought please disregard my previous recommendation. It’s probably best to stay out of the mobile banking arena.