What is Mobile Banking?

confusedThe latest craze in banking is mobile banking.  Just about every bank and credit union has a mobile banking app; but what is mobile banking?

Recently, while driving down Kingston Pike, I noticed a competitor had an advertisement outside their branch that read:


Curious about what our competition was offering, I stopped in the branch and asked the customer services representative about their apps.  She had no idea what apps her credit union offered.  She asked the woman working the drive thru, who then clued me in on what apps they offered.

We have one for the iPhone and one for the Smartphone.

I then asked what the other app was since the sign suggested there was more than one app available.  She then informed me that there were two, one for the iPhone and one for the Smartphone.  I then asked her if she meant “Droid” instead of “Smartphone.”  She quickly agreed, and realized that her Credit Union only offered one kind of app, it was just available for two different smartphones.

It may sound like I’m picking on one competitor, but the fact is the term “Mobile Banking” has become so grey that not even people in financial institutions fully understand what it is.  Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Mobile Website: Exactly what it says, when you go to a bank’s website via a smartphone, you see a formatted site specifically created for smartphones.  Typically these sites have less links, an option to sign in to Internet Banking and a link to the bank’s “full site.”
  • Mobile Banking App: In its most generic form, an app that gives you immediate access to your bank accounts.  Some banks are starting to offer account aggregation options with their mobile banking apps.  Account aggregation allows you to access bank accounts you have at other financial institutions.  In other words, customers can get a total picture of their finances.
  • Mobile Deposit: An app that allows you to deposit your check just by taking a photo of it.  This is a convenient app that can reduce trips to the bank.  How cool is that?
  • Mobile Cash Management: A fairly new app being offered by banks.  It’s an app for businesses that allows business owners to streamline their cash flow.  This can vary based on the type of cash management tools a bank offers.
  • Mobile Merchant Services: Perhaps the most popular example of this is Square.  This allows people to accept credit card payments with their smartphone or tablet.
  • Mobile Wallet: Exactly what it says, an app that works like a wallet.  You can store coupons, purchases and other information in this new “wallet.”

For people working with banks, be sure to find out what your current bank (or future bank) truly offers when it comes to mobile banking.  What kind of apps are available?  What security measures have they taken?  These are just two important questions people should ask their banker.

For people who work for banks, or credit unions, create some sales training and look for opportunities to educate you team about this trend.  There is no doubt that mobile apps are growing and can be a great way to improve or expand your relationship with your customers.

Welcome to the future!


Big Data vs. Your Data

shutterstock_1166971421BIG DATA is the latest buzz word circulating around marketing and banking professionals. People keep stating that BIG DATA is a “game changer” and that you must find an expert to help you translate that data into big profits for you business. For those who are in the financial industry, consider this; before you go deep-sea fishing in big data, consider your own little pond of data first.

Industries like community banks have a huge advantage. For example, when opening a checking account or closing a loan, banks are required to collect information from customers. Information like addresses and credit scores must be obtained by lay.  In addition to that, this information is stored all in one location. Think of all the opportunities when it comes to target marketing.

  1. Direct Marketing:  Not only do we have customer contact information, but we also know what services they already have.  These two pieces of information can lay the groundwork for a direct marketing campaign.  Businesses dish out money to gain home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses; and we already have this information on file.  Match a list of customers who are missing out on a great service and BOOM, you have started planning a direct marketing campaign.  Now you set a deadline, roll out a schedule, create collateral and perform training.  Easier said than done, but at least the first two steps, which are usually the hardest parts, are completed.
  2. Cross Selling:  If a customer is coming in to open one account, there are several opportunities to offer additional products and services that can help your customer.  For example, when a new customer closes a loan, there are several opportunities for cross selling.  You know if they can qualify for a credit card, you can help them open a checking account (with a debit card), assist them in starting a savings account…and on and on the list goes.

The great thing about using the data you already have is that you are working with people who already know your business.  There is no need to start from scratch, the customer has chosen to do business with you company.  Create a relationship and build on it!  The important thing to focus on is how can the new service benefit both the customer and the bank.  You don’t want to give out loans to people who you know cannot repay them.  You also don’t want to force a service on somebody that doesn’t really need or want it.  Find a situation where both your business and the customer walks away a winner.

By doing this, your company will do right by your customers and this in turn can create referral sources from customers via their friends, family and coworkers/staff.

It may not be BIG DATA, but this can lead to BIG PROFITS.

Sales Training = Knowledge + Courage

Courage and KnowledgeAround this time of year, I ask my peers, co-workers and bank executives (both inside and outside the organization) what they believe will make an impact in the new year.  This is a great way to get insight and to make sure I am not missing anything for the coming year.  When the section of either sales or educational development comes up, one item is always mentioned:

Sales Training

I can ask twenty people what sales training is and will likely receive twenty different answers.  Here are just a few items:

  • How to close a sale as fast as possible
  • Ways to improve the sales pipeline
  • Getting a customer to say yes
  • Best Cold Calling Tactics

These are good points and could possible be great training sessions, but all these points tend to leave out the two most important factors in sales: Knowledge and Courage.

When you think about it, sales is about how people communicate with one another.  You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t know what it is, or are unsure of yourself, then how can you sale it?  In other words, sales training shouldn’t be about how to sale a widget, it is about giving your staff product knowledge and providing coaching to your staff in order to build courage.


How can you sale something if you don’t know anything about it?

Product knowledge isn’t a one time training session.  It isn’t an annual meeting.  Product knowledge is an ongoing process that every person at your bank needs.  Here are just a few reasons:

  • Consistency: Conducting a training session is one way to make sure you have educated your entire staff and that everyone is on the same page.  Everyone understands what the product or service is and can be ready to handle any questions customers or prospects may have.
  • Regulations: New federal regulations are constantly being pushed out and inspected.  It is always best to check with the compliance department before conducting any product training.  This way you can educate your bankers about any regulations that are tied to the product you are reviewing.
  • Enhancements: While reviewing a certain product in a group training session, you may find that the product may need to be updated or completely overhauled.  This will not only help improve the sales process, but overall customer service.


You’ve given your sales team the knowledge, now it’s up to them to go out and sale.  Sounds easy, right?

Consider this:

  • Have you ever purchased anything from somebody who came across extremely timid?
  • Have you ever enjoyed working with a pushy salesman?

Most likely these two salespeople suffer from a lack of confidence (aka courage).

For some people, sales can be like walking across a tight rope. If you are afraid to close the sale, people will walk away from you. Be too focused on closing the sale, and people run away from you.

That’s why successful sales training happens “outside the classroom” in the form of coaching.  Coaching is a great way to build confidence because it reinforces positive behavior while improving communication between a leader and their team.  Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way of coaching.

  • The Wrong Way: Looking for every fault and only pointing out what is wrong.  In other words, Wrong=Wrong
  • The Right Way: In short, examining the whole situation.  Praising what was done right while focusing on a mutual understand of how it will be handled better in the future.

Remember, while coaching, you are building courage and confidence in someone, not attacking every little problem they have.

If your sales training is centered around these two concepts, everything else will fall into place.  Customers and prospects will know they are dealing with a person who knows what they are talking about and can make it happen.  This creates an environment where the sales person and buyer are on the same team.  It’s a mindset that allows everyone to come out a winner!

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