Mobility – A New Way for Banking


We often talk about mobile banking from a technological point of view, about the fancy new tools which allow customers to view the status of their accounts or execute simple transactions. Many have the view that mobile banking is a simply new channel for online banking, bringing the functionality available on the desktop to the mobile phone. I would contend that for mobile banking to be truly successful, it needs to be much more; it needs to be a new way to do banking, a permanent space for the bank and its customers to interact.

Karl Rieder - Director Applied Technologies (GFT AG)
Karl Rieder – Director Applied Technologies (GFT AG)

In a presentation I attended in September, Miguel Montes and Pol Navarro of Banco Sabadell made a very compelling argument for a more powerful, flexible, and human banking. They clearly showed that while mobile banking is being driven by technology, it will only be successful by fostering new processes to improve customer service and sales.

Banco Sabadell is definitely a leader in Spain, revolutionizing the notion of mobile banking. Their motto “bring the bank with you” gives you a good idea of where they are and the direction they are heading.

Mobile technologies can definitely enable a new customer service and relationship model, but how? Firstly, a bank needs to create user friendly applications which allow customers to take full advantage of its services; the mobile needs to simplify banking in order to encourage an easier and more direct interaction. Secondly, the bank needs to harness this interaction to deepen the relationship with the client by proposing new services which bring added value to the customer. A good example is instant funding. When a customer makes a large credit card purchase, the bank can immediately offer payment schemes – an interesting service for the customer and a new revenue stream for the bank.

Another interesting aspect of this new paradigm is the role of social networks. By joining the bank customers and employees, the mobile platform can not only improve customer service (24×7), but also empower employees to play a more active role in the relationship with their customers. In this way, the mobile can become the first and most important connection the customer has to the bank, but in a way which remains human.

I like this vision of banking. To make it a reality, banks need more than just technology. They need to implement new processes and services and put customer service first, taking into consideration what bank customers need throughout the course of their everyday life. Banco Sabadell gets it; I suspect that eventually many banks will follow their lead.

This article was first published on Finextra.