Consumers are changing the way they do their banking. In the past 5 years, more consumers have switched to their bank’s online capabilities to handle routine transactions. And the number of consumers accessing bank services via mobile phones is growing. However, consumers are not quite ready to give up their visits to traditional bank centers for important transactions. All of these changes in consumer behavior are leading banks to market themselves in new ways.
During a recent interview, Kevin Travis, an analyst with bank consultancy Novantas noted that online banking is now the core delivery mechanism for services. Here’s how the numbers look.
Consumers are accessing banks online to:
- Check balances: 76%
- Research products: 77%
- Transfer funds: 67%
In addition, mobile use for banking services is rapidly growing. According to Travis’s research, about 17% of consumers are accessing bank sites with their mobile phones. In large part, these consumers are checking their balances. But the demand is clearly there for additional services. Currently, banks need to satisfy two mobile segments of the population – both of which are rapidly growing. These groups include:
- Young, early adopters who are well-educated and tech savvy – 50%
- Ultra-connected wealthy consumers who like mobile but also use online banking services – 50%
However, mobile banking, as a core technology, still has to prove itself to a significant number of consumers. Research indicates that only 25% of U.S. consumers trust the mobile channel.
Additional findings reveal that consumers want to access their physical bank branches for specific services. These include opening accounts (75%) and depositing funds (57%).
All of these changes have significance for bank operators who may eventually close the number of physical outlets and use their bricks and mortar operations as specialty shops for services such as making loans and opening new accounts. And Travis predicts that the amount of self-service technology will increase as banks seek to cut costs.
From a marketing perspective, banks will likely promote the user-friendly features of their online services. They also have plenty of incentive and opportunity to assure consumers that their mobile services are safe and convenient.[Sources: Kevin Travis. Bank Branches vs. Electronic Delivery of Banking Services. Retail Banking Distribution. Novantas.com. 16 Jan. 2011. Web. 9 Mar. 2011; Consumers continue Switch to Online Banking. eMarketer.com. 28 Feb. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011]