US hovers on edge of big m-banking push

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A quarter of US community banks offer mobile services but this is set to increase sharply over the next 18 months, according to a survey from Banc Investment Group.

The poll of 687 community bankers shows 89% are considering some form of improvement to their existing platform. That includes 54% looking to design a mobile application for a smartphone, such as an iPhone, and 35% planning to add some type of functionality to their mobile platform.

Of those already offering a m-banking service, 36% use a technology platform from Fiserv, 24% Jack Henry, 16% Fis/Metavante and 10% Clairmail. Most, 70%, are happy with their partner and would recommend them to another bank.

Asked about what new initiatives they are undertaking for the rest of 2010, 44% expressed interest in purchasing or upgrading their m-banking platform – the most of any other product category.

After m-banking, 22% said they were interested in buying or upgrading their online cash management or customer relationship management platforms. A fifth are planning to buy or upgrade enterprise risk management, loan origination or online banking capabilities.

Chris Nichols, CEO, Banc Investment Group, says, “Community bankers across the country view m-banking as a must-have to meet both retail and commercial demand. Banks that already have an m-platform have a temporary competitive advantage that will narrow as more banks offer the service. For m-banking providers, the time is right to capitalise on a market that is moving from the early adopter phase to mass market penetration.”