Small Business and Corporate Mobile Banking Solutions Gaining Popularity

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30 July 2010
Jacob Jegher
Consumer mobile banking has already created quite a stir. Hefty marketing campaigns aimed at the consumer market are being used to promote mobile banking services. While the potential of the consumer mobile banking market is certainly attractive, little emphasis is being placed on the corporate or small business markets. This is quite surprising given the penetration of mobile devices in the business world. Mobile access is a natural and innovative add-on to today’s cash management services. Businesses of all sizes are already indicating that they would like to gain access to mobile services. Banks have to be able to offer these services in order to innovate, respond to market demand, and remain competitive in a crowded and highly mature playing field. The time to provide mobile banking services to business customers is now. The state of the mobile world is opening an array of opportunities for corporate users. Because corporate users are so in tune with the benefits and flexibility of mobile technology, they make excellent candidates for mobile banking services. Device evolution, Blackberry and iPhone mania, faster networks, and the prevalence of data plans will drive the adoption of small business and corporate mobile banking services. Introductory mobile solutions are already providing static information in the form of alerts, account balances, customer service features, etc. As applications mature and customers begin to appreciate the value that they are obtaining from mobile access, additional banks will begin to introduce more interactive functionalities like positive pay decisioning, payment approvals and some forms of payment initiation. There are first movers in this space. Wells Fargo is the pioneer - they launched their CEO Mobile solution back in 2007. This product has now evolved to encompass many of the features mentioned above. More recently, other banks have started to dabble in this space. Most have basic small business solutions that provide traditional consumer mobile features, although a few have taken a step forward to provide more sophisticated functionality. Small business examples include Chase, CIBC, Wachovia, and Wells. Large corporate examples are still few and far between, however, there are a number of banks that have fully developed solutions and it is only a matter of time before they are marketed to the masses. I would love to hear your thoughts on the market for business mobile banking solutions. Do you think this is something all banks will have? Is there a business case or strong value proposition here?


  • While the use cases are still today slightly less obvious for large corporates than for consumers and small businesses, we are starting to see increased curiosity (rather than full well defined requirements yet) from the banks we assist with our corporate banking solutions, particularly in cash management and trade finance.

    The initial scenarios which seem to generate the most interest and which we are working on are primarily around alerts and mobile-based transaction authorization (rather than transaction initiation from the mobile device).

    No doubt that mobile services will soon feature in standard corporate banking value proposition.

  • Hi Olivier, thanks for your comments and insight.

    Why do you think the cases are slightly less obvious for large corporates? I think that employees who have to approve payments or pay/reject positive pay items are a natural fit for corporate mobile banking. Throw in some highly configurable alerts and the possibilities are tremendous.

  • Hi Jacob,

    I totally agree with your example (very similar to mine) as a natural fit.

    My 'less obvious' statement was primarily looking at today's corporate environment and referring to the relatively lower mobility of typical corporate users vs. the same users in their daily personal activities.

    If I look at the typical population of users for our own corporate e-banking solution, a number of them sit in the treasury department / shared service center and manage payments from 9am to 6pm while sitting at their desk. In other words, their actual job's role profiles do not currently call for much mobility.

    That being said, the organization of such centers is evolving and, particularly for approval and authorization which tends to move higher in the organization's hierarchy, mobility appears as a more frequent characteristic in the end users' role profiles (managers).
    Hence my belief above that this is coming.

  • Olivier, I completely agree, great comments and insight.

  • Am writing from Kenya and its interesting to follow this discussion. We are just getting into the business of developing mobile based solutions not just for banking but also Media, Government among others.....

    Way forward is to come up with applications that are compatible to even the most basic of phones especially in Africa where the target market is the basic saver/clients etc

    I will be keen to watch how this revolutionary technology develops

    Jacob, i will keep coming back to your site

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