Are Banks From Mars, Mobile Tech Vendors From Venus?

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2 March 2010
Since 2007, there has been exciting growth in the U.S. mobile banking sector. The number of FIs that have implemented mobile banking during the last 3 years continues to rise, and the number of mobile banking active users is one of the most promising adoption metrics in the banking industry. However, one area that has seen relatively little progress has been mobile banking functionality. By and large, mobile banking features today are not too different from mobile banking features first offered in 2007. Increasing FI saturation and rapid user adoption suggest that the mobile banking sector is on the verge of innovation. Research backs this up. I am about to publish a new report that takes a look at the way banks and mobile tech vendors in the U.S. view the next few years of mobile banking. During the course of my research, both industries agreed about the importance of rolling out of new mobile technologies. However, our research also unearthed that within the bank-vendor symbiotic relationship, very differing "world views" exist, especially in terms of scope. Whereas banks look at mobile banking within the context of multiple channels, systems and organizational units, mobile tech vendors are naturally concerned with their specific field of expertise. In other words, banks cannot always move as fast as vendors would like, and tension can ensue. An excellent example is P2P. Whereas some mobile vendors have P2P solutions at the ready, banks need time to work out bank-wide implementations (e.g., offering P2P in the on-line and ATM channels). Young niche vendors under pressure to gain revenue become frustrated, banks under the gun to build channel consistency feel "pushed". Stayed tuned for my report, which offers a look at how this inter-industry "marriage" is playing out.

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