When the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 30% increase in traffic from mobile devices, First Foundation Bank decided it was time to take a serious look at this channel.
“Our first focus was the online banking platform, but it was fascinating to see how human behavior has changed,” says Lindsay Lawrence, chief operating officer of the $10.2 billion asset-based bank. in southern California. Telephone (s.”
Recognizing how critical the mobile channel had become, First Foundation designed a new mobile app to deliver a host of benefits, from reducing branch operating costs to creating an efficient and engaging customer experience to earn their long-term loyalty.
First Foundation’s mobile initiative looks like a smart bet as customers become more comfortable with self-service banking.
According to BAI’s banking outlook for 2022, usage of mobile channels is expected to reach 22% of consumers over the next three years, which is roughly in line with forecasted usage of online banking. In the same survey, bank branches fell slightly to 19% and drive-ups dropped to 13% of the total omnichannel mix.
“The efficiencies our customer base will gain from a powerful mobile app are so significant,” Lawrence says, noting that an effective mobile app also has benefits for the bank itself. “That obviously helps reduce overall costs.”
Lawrence says it’s too early to tell how customers are reacting to the new app, which is designed to help customers better understand their finances. But a little anecdotal feedback is positive. Generation Z and millennials of First Foundation board members appreciate the app’s features and have highly recommended it to their parents.
BAI’s 2022 outlook revealed that mobile is important, especially for younger generations. When opening a deposit account, 37% of Gen Z respondents prefer to do so via mobile, compared to just 12% who prefer using the agency. In contrast, only 12% of baby boomers said they prefer opening deposit accounts on mobile; 58% said branch was the way to go.
John Hanley, senior vice president and senior marketing director for Equity Bank, says the increase in mobile traffic caused by pandemic shutdowns in 2020 has receded. “But we’ve seen steady growth in our mobile and digital banking,” he says.
The $5 billion community bank based in Wichita, Kansas has 70 branches in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Hanley says the bank has struck a healthy balance between in-branch and digital business.
“One of the great benefits of mobile banking is that it makes it easier for customers to access anywhere in your footprint,” says Hanley. He estimates that around 70% of Equity customers use some form of mobile or online banking, but branch bankers are still an important part of the equation.
“People continue to want help making complex financial decisions like buying a home or starting a business,” he says. “They can start relationships with us via mobile or digital. But our customers place great trust in our branches in case any questions arise.
Equity Bank will continue to promote and create value for its mobile channel. “We are always trying to increase the digital and mobile usage of our product line,” says Hanley. “We realize that’s how people interact with their bank, their insurance company, their phone company.”
Tom Martin, CEO of Glance Networks, says the “pandemic has left the cat out of the bag” when it comes to mobile banking. The Wakefield, Mass.-based company creates digital engagement solutions for banking and beyond.
“The mobile phone has increasingly become the single point of interface,” says Martin. “The phone never comes out of the customer’s pocket. You can send messages and provide a level of engagement that exposes the customer to other parts of the bank. »
The phone brings the bank to the customer. “It makes it more accessible for people who haven’t wanted to do business with a traditional bank,” says Martin. “Mobile and digital can be an enabler.”
He adds that a mobile-savvy bank meets its customers wherever they are, almost invisibly and without friction. “It is this level of invisibility that will be the new battleground for banks. Product, functionality and price are no longer the competitive differentiators in banking. It is the experience.
Edmund Lawler is a BAI Contributing Writer.
Gain insight into where mobile banking is heading with BAI’s executive report, “Mobile Banking is on the Move”.