The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Archive for the ‘Online Banking’ Category

Intuit releases their iPhone app – is yours coming soon?

Jim notes the release of the Intuit iPhone app.  Last week we had the Wesabe app released offerring a stronger product and better competition to Mint.

In general it continually amazes be that banks are not leaping on this opportunity for a low cost, high visibility ad for their online services.  Which leads me to todays question de jour for bank executives:

Have you tried an iphone?

If not go to a store immediately and do so.  Whether you buy it or not, you will be left with the impression this is a game changing device, and remember the people who use them are vocal.  Then go talk to someone who does iphone apps and be prepared to be surprised at the cost of entry.

Anyhow, well done Intuit.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 2, 2009 at 14:42

RBC speak about convergence for EBPP and statements

The commentary here from Colin McKay, vice-president of e-business architecture RBC in this video interview, is refreshing to hear from a Bank.

RBC discusses client reporting and customer statements | IT World Canada

Some notes from the interview, then commentary and discussion:

  • Old process had product and IT groups generating 18 separate statements in different formats but most ending up in print
  • each statement feed was formatted specific to the output, eg, print or web
  • each of the 18 had their own processes
  • all 18 feeds have been directed to a common store, and stored as raw data
  • the 18 raw data feeds from the core systems, are now amalgamated into a “Common Composition Engine” (CCE)
  • CCE can output in any format to print, web
  • most customers do not read statements, so the current practise of storing all in PDF format is wasteful and inefficient
  • CCE will eventually be offerred on demand, and on request, this could be PDF on demand, or web on demand
  • the Customer Preference Engine will allow customers to aggregate the data of their choice, including marketing messages,and product messages into a customised statement in the format of their choice
  • uses Telephone companies as an example of information display versus statement format.  The notion of a statement is being challenged by the web experience, and is redundant for many customers
  • He speaks of Electronic Bill Payment and Presentment (EBPP) and social networks.  “people go into town and do multiple things, vist grocery store, hardware store, and the bank;  there is a desire to conduct multiple business transactions at social networks in the same way;  what we are seeing is a convergence”

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Great interview but that last point needs some discussion.  But first with regard to the problems of multiple products and statements, the solution to the problems all banks face is clear, and he articulates it well.  The notion of on demand and in the format and design by the customer makes sense.

The notion of a social network as being analogous to “going into town to conduct business” requires some thought though.  In the real world we have Wal-Mart with photo, bank, restaurant as well as their core service of merchandise.  We have malls, with a variety of stores and banks.  We have Main St with a variety of stores and banks.  Finally we have other cities and countries that we can visit to conduct transactions.  The nice thing about the web is that it can be all or any of those.   It seems to me if we use this analogy, that the town is the web, and the concept of malls, stores, banks, and big box stores are all sites within the web, exemplified as different types of aggregation or not.  An we can get to that web using laptops, PC’s or mobile.

Customers will gravitate to the methodology of their choice, but they will require help to visualise how that future might look.  There is scant evidence that Facebook is viewed by users as that place for convergence and aggregation, or the place where they go into town to “conduct business transactions”.

In fact the evidence suggests that people are avoiding those things that get in the way of their social interaction at Facebook.  My own observation is that the jury remains out as to a desire for people to aggregate financial information anywahere except with their FI.  I know this contradicts the general movements of convergence and aggregation on the web, but so far financial services have not been pulled that way by people, which is probably dirven by privacy, security, and identity theft concerns.

Having said that it is possible if RBC display how that might work in a safe secure and convenient and non-intusive manner, that customers will accept receiving their bills and reminders inside their Social Network environment, alongside their social conversations (but obviously hidden from the view of others).  Or is this more of a channel need?  Aggregation at the device level, ie PC, mobile?  In any event its a great conversation and the rioght conversation that RBC are promoting here.

Thoughts?  Do you want to receive your statements, bills and notifications elsewhere than say at the bank site, and in your email?  If so where and how?

Written by Colin Henderson

April 15, 2009 at 11:06

“Online & Mobile Banking Forecast 2009 – 2018” | Online Banking Report

I am an unabashed avid follower of Online Banking Report, and the latest “Online & Mobile Banking Forecast” continues the classic of Jims annual output.

The focus of online banking and mobile is one key attribute of this years focus.  In fact having the iphone on the front page is illustrative of the outside the box thinking.


This year in particular is when all Banks ought be thinking of ways to innovate and get outside the box.

Clearly it is no longer business as usual, and will not be for some time.

Gathering deposits is essential to future success, but that will come one customer at a time – the classic conundrum of acquisition cost remains if banks choose to use old ways to acquire.

A key component of customer acquisition is customer retention, and the thrity six pages here are one way to structure your plans to retain the customers you have.  Bank of America and Wells Fargo are doing that – what about your bank?  As word gets out, such innovations will drive acquisition too.

Report summary:

The report follows the usual style with first a summary of innovation to date.  What makes this intersting is that enough years and innovations have gone by that the history lesson in itself is fascinating, and awe inspiring if one thinks of the things that your bank did not implement.  The sheer volume of facts in Jims reports are worth the price  – no-where else is this level of detail available in one place.

Then there is a review of 2008 innovations and here it hits close to home for banks.  In the top innovations for 2008, there are only four banks mentioned (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PNC and Zion).  Thats four out of eight thousand eligible!  For the top ten in 2008 there is one bank makes it.

The breadth and depth of the innovations covered is quite astounding, and to see them laid out in one place is refreshing showing that the possibility to innovate is there for the taking.

Finally there are the honourable mentions of 2008.  This is a fact filled detailed view of the current state of online and mobile and this one in particular frankly ought to be required reading for every banker.  Well done Jim and the team.

Written by Colin Henderson

January 31, 2009 at 23:32

Generations online 2009 and their usage patterns | PEW

A couple of interesting things from this new PEW report.

  1. The pervasiveness of online usage – only over 69 is there less than 50% usage online – refer below
  2. Gen Y is doing more and more banking online moving from 38% to 57% – older folks use internet for information, health and purchases.

Generations Online in 2009 | PEW

Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the “Net Generation,” internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).


Written by Colin Henderson

January 28, 2009 at 20:18

Posted in Online Banking

Semantic search is closer than we think – some free tricks for banks

There is much talk of the semantic web as the next generation of internet. It is a little understood concept, and it is always assumed it will be seen as a new release of search – something dramatically different.

Wikipedia: making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content.

The reality of the semantic web appearing might be different that we realise – in fact the advances in search that have quietly been implemented take us a long way towards the notion of search that works as humans do.


at type in “7.8 kg in lbs” [witout the quotes]

Result = 7.8 kilograms = 17.1960565 pound

Dozens of other similar features at google – Search features

Try others:

100 canadian dollars in pounds

Result = 100 Canadian dollars = 58.8714763 British pounds

Site specific search tricks

So lets get more advanced – I tried these two searches in

1) rbc branch toronto

2) where is rbc branch in toronto

Search 2 is orders of magnitude more relevant with google maps and maps searches highlighted.

Site searches: Getting more sophisticated, I tried these:

1) on I searched “branch toronto”  [no quotes}

2) on i searched “branch toronto” [no quotes]

Search #2 tells google to search for ‘branch toronto” only on  Guess what – #2 won out with branch information after a few rbc history things.  The search [#1] displayed pdf’s after search item #4.

The research here followed reading this item at Googlewatch who noted that semantic strings were showing positive results.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Search sophistication has moved ahead in ways the average person does not realise.  The people at Google are in fact scientists, and the notion that we in industry can buy / build a search capacity that comes even close is unlikely.  Better to ensure everything online at your web site is optimised and accesible to google (and others) and let them manage the heavy lifting.  Your customers will appreciate it, and you have one less thing to worry about.

Why not offer –

site:[search item]

to customers on your site?  Implementation instructions are here.  Here is my search for my site.

Written by Colin Henderson

January 24, 2009 at 21:09

Posted in Online Banking

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Barclays fall into the trap of trying to position secure messaging as email

Finextra have lots of news today it seems.  This one caught my attention because its one of my own pet peeves going back 2 1/2 years when I referred to secure email as a fiction. 

Barclays chooses Kana messaging technology | Finextra

KANA Secure Messaging combines email management with secure Web portals and provides simple and effective secure customer communication through Web channels, delivering private communications without the need for encryption applications.

The reason its a fiction is that the various solutions all take the customer into a web page, that must be logged into, or require some additional software.  These solutions are all perfectly valid opportunities, but lets not call it email because it is not email.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Customers are already in online banking with a login and password.  Its a mistake to think that another login and password is required.  Simply build out the messaging capability within online banking, and you have a one stop shop for customers.  Companies such as Kana can accommodate that, so no need for ‘yet another login’.

Written by Colin Henderson

October 30, 2008 at 00:53

Posted in Online Banking

Wells Fargo significantly advance their spending analysis tools online

This is a significant move, when we can have a headline that points to a Bank entering start up territory.  Wells have always been impressive, and the proof will be in the implementation. 

Wells Fargo moves into PFM start-up territory with new budgeting tool | Finextra

Wells Fargo is to make a bid for online banking territory currently occupied by niche Web 2.0 start-ups such as Mint with the launch of a personal Web-based budgeting tool for consumers to monitor their spending habits.

The new tool, dubbed My Spending Report with Budget Watch, gives customers a consolidated view of their spending across their Wells Fargo accounts. Outgoings can be sorted into familiar categories – such as groceries, rent, petrol – and users can set and monitor monthly budget goals and calculate what’s left at the end of each month.

They laid the groundwork 3 or 4 years ago when they launched a spending tool, and inexplicably that went relatively un-noticed by others.  This is one to watch.

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Written by Colin Henderson

October 30, 2008 at 00:35

Posted in Online Banking

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