Bank Board Letter — October 2015
John Moon

The mobile channel is now mainstream, with some financial institutions reporting more customer interactions via the mobile channel than any other as consumers keep tabs on their financial lives and initiate transactions from wherever they happen to be. However, the majority of financial institutions are unsure of what to strive for in terms of adoption metrics and are wary of investing in promotion of their mobile banking offerings.

Fiserv’s analysis shows that successful financial institutions have a mobile adoption rate of 40 percent of their online banking base or higher. This level of adoption does not happen by itself. The right mobile banking features and effective promotion of the service are critical for achieving the highest levels of channel adoption. By better understanding how mobile banking product attributes and marketing programs impact adoption, financial institutions can develop actionable strategies, such as targeted marketing and next-generation product investment, to drive adoption and increase the return on investment.

The ability to add and retain mobile bankers is vital to a financial institution’s growth and profitability. Fiserv research has shown that consumers that bank via mobile are among a financial institution’s most valuable customers. They use a platform with lower service costs and have a greater propensity to sign up for additional services.

To capitalize on the market opportunity mobile presents, financial institutions can start by prioritizing three areas: product investment, targeted marketing and staff engagement.

  1. ENHANCING PRODUCT FEATURES To motivate a consumer switch to mobile banking, financial institutions must show how the service aligns with their lifestyles. Investing in next-generation mobile banking products is vital to this initiative. Fiserv research has found financial institutions that offer mobile deposit see 60 percent more logins and transactions per month per customer than financial institutions without the feature (Figure 1). Additionally, a tailored tablet banking experience can boost enrollment in mobile banking and spur incremental transaction activity.

P2P payment and instant balance features also speak to customer lifestyle preferences. P2P payments are convenient for paying rent, splitting bills or exchanging money among family and friends. Instant balance simplifies the most common mobile banking activity, checking balances, by allowing a user to check their balances with a swipe of the screen, without having to log into mobile banking.

  1. EMPLOYING MARKETING STRATEGIES A multi-channel marketing approach is necessary to reach consumers wherever they spend their time, whether in a physical location or online. Smart App Banners can increase adoption for a branded mobile app by improving awareness among customers that one is available. When the institution’s URL is typed into the mobile or tablet browser, the banner appears directing interested users to the mobile banking app download page. Fidelity Bank of North Carolina saw success in this technique (Figure 2), with mobile registrations nearly doubling in the month following implementation.

Other effective techniques for promoting mobile banking within online and mobile channels include cross-promotional banners, interstitial pages and a vanity URL for a landing page with more information on the service.

Additionally, marketing via social channels like Facebook and Twitter is integral to reaching engagement goals, especially among younger consumers. These channels provide an opportunity to rotate marketing message content to focus on different features Ð bill payment, mobile deposit and security measures, for example. Additionally, the platforms offer interactive capabilities in the form of links, pictures, videos, sweepstakes and contests to boost engagement when promoting mobile banking. For example, 1st Mariner Bank of Maryland conducted a Facebook contest to promote usage of its mobile check deposit feature, offering a $500 prize for the sweepstakes winner (Figure 3).

  1. TURNING FRONTLINE STAFF INTO EVANGELIZERS In addition to a strong product offering and a comprehensive marketing campaign, a successful mobile banking adoption strategy leverages the financial institution’s frontline staff to encourage enrollment. To prepare staff for this task, both branch employees and call center staff will need proper training on how the mobile banking service works, how to enroll new users, and how and when to promote it. Having each employee sign up for the service is a guaranteed way to reinforce training. Furthermore, the employee will be able to share personal experiences in discussion, which generates trust between the staff and the accountholder.

Staff at Family Bank in Georgia saw the benefits of an employee training program as they learned how to effectively communicate one of the important benefits of mobile banking specific to that bank: convenience. Mobile capabilities meant fewer visits to the branch’s rural location, which equaled time and cost savings for many customers.

AIM HIGH: FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CAN EXCEED THE MOBILE ADOPTION BENCHMARK All efforts from the financial institution in the areas of product investment, targeted marketing and employee training serve to bring the accountholders through the four stages of the adoption lifecycle Ð awareness, discovery, enrollment and usage. For example, a Smart App Banner may trigger awareness, while enrollment takes place with a trusted advisor in the branch.

Mobile banking benefits both financial institutions and consumers as engagement between the two parties is enhanced. SunWest Credit Union of Arizona recently followed the strategies outlined above and within the first two months, 43 percent of SunWest online banking users had used Mobiliti from Fiserv. Today, most of the credit union’s mobile banking users employ the service at least weekly, creating additional engagement opportunities for SunWest.

Financial institutions stuck in a rut with mobile banking momentum can re-evaluate their product offerings and targeted marketing strategies to optimize the return on investment. Mobile bankers are among a financial institution’s most valuable and engaged customers, and campaigns to boost mobile adoption and usage justify themselves in the end results.

John Moon is director, consumer adoption marketing at Fiserv. For more information, visit