Mobile banking is growing fast across the
globe and banks are focusing on the channel increasingly, trying to
differentiate its offering and provide value for customers. Retail
Banker Interactive together with Finacle form Infosys hosted a
webinar on the Future of Mobile Banking examining how the channel
can be used to its maximum potential


Douglas Blakey, editor of Retail Banker
International, Chandrashekar Rao Kuthyar (CS), senior
product line manager, Infosys, and Jessica Niewierra, director of
internet and mobile banking, ABN AMRO, Netherlands, discussed, in a
Future of Mobile Banking webinar, the latest market trends and
customer behaviour in mobile banking and examined in which
direction the platform is going.

The webinar was the tenth in a series of
webinars presented by Retail Banker Interactive and Finacle from

In particular, the webinar discussed how banks
can make best use of their mobile channel with the aim of
increasing its customer base and offering an enhanced customer
experience, while differentiating itself from other lenders in the

Blakey, who was chairing the Future of Mobile
Banking webinar, said:

“Not a month goes by when a survey does not
come out with fresh data about the growth of mobile banking and
only the other day a report, for example, came in from Forrester
flagging up that 20% of western European net users are now using
mobile banking. Proof of mobile banking growth is not difficult to
find – all across the globe.”

Blakey gave examples of Bank of America
(BofA), Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase in North America, Royal Bank of
Canada (RBC), ANZ in Australia and ABSA in South Africa among
others as lenders that have shown tremendous growth in their mobile

“There are too many good examples to give,”
added Blakey.

Netherlands having the highest penetration of
internet banking in Europe, Blakey stresses that it would be
particularly interesting to hear what the second speaker Niewiera
had to say about its digital banking strategy and future plans.

“Given how well the online channel has
performed in the Netherlands, it will be interesting to hear from
ABN AMRO about the growth of the mobile banking channel,” said

CS started his presentation by saying that we
have seen almost every bank launching some form of mobile banking
or another, and, while they have all been technical successes,
“probably the business expectations have fallen short”, and every
bank is trying to find what the “winning formula” is.

“What is it that you need to do to have user
adoption, growth and make the alternate channel ‘the’ channel?”,
said CS.

“We all know that mobile subscribers are
ramping up, with an almosmobile banking growtht unexpected trajectory. What is important to know
is mobile is no longer the alternate channel. Mobile is ‘the’
channel. If you miss this message then you will always play second
fiddle,” said CS.

CS compared the rate of growth of internet
banking to that of mobile banking and stressed that the difference
between them is “huge”.

CS also spoke about how often we hear the
words ‘mobility’ and ‘mobile’ interchangeably and discussed how
every one at some point in time has used these words and doubted
whether or not mobile will be the ‘next big thing’ or will it be

“These are nice analogies that I have learnt.
Going forward we should remember that we always fall prey to the
fact that we conduct mobile banking on an iPhone or iPad or android
phone. That is a very narrow view of the entire situation. What
customers want is not ‘mobile’, customers want ‘mobility’.

“Customers want freedom to do their banking
transactions anywhere anytime – they are least bothered about the
technology you offer, the device you offer and what channel or
access you are able to provide. The first levels of freedom we got
was through ATMs – there was anytime, anywhere banking. Mobile adds
a third dimension to the system.

“Interesting thing about this aspect of
mobility is that you are not restricted to a single gadget or
mobile device. When you begin a transaction you could be on a
mobile phone and when you end the transaction you could be on a
desktop computer, and you could also do part of the transaction
using a tablet computer or a kiosk or an SMS or some NFC enabled
proximity payment device. I particularly stress on the need for
unrestricted access to the end consumers to use any device that is
accessible,” said CS.

CS added that if a bank’s mobile banking team
is focussing on just the mobile device then it is “going

The other key aspect of mobile banking, said
CS, is personalisation. “What mobility expects is total
personalisation. When I am holding a devise, it should be totally
mine,” said CS.

“Just by putting a password you don’t get
personalisation. Personalisation is the ability to convert any
devise in your hand to completely reconfigure itself to provide
information access to just what you want and what you are entitled
to – nothing more, nothing less,” CS added.

Personalisation also reflects how the customer
would like to view the information available, according to CS.

“You can get the information you need in any
language of your choice, you can get it as a piece of music, as a
piece of multi media – I must be in a position to get any form of
encoding to see a particular piece of information. Personalisation
means ‘I must have a choice’,” said CS.

The tremendous success of Facebook shows us
the power of personalisation through the way characters and
behaviour are being personalised, added CS.

“Mobile banking wants neither the device nor
the bank to dictate which menu is going to be on top and which ones
will be at the bottom – it should intuitively pick up on my repeat
transactions and show me what I want,” says CS.

One of the biggest lessons learnt through
interactions with mobile banking for Infosys, said CS, is the
lesser information one provides the more valuable it is.

“It is a complete misnomer that we must
provide a whole world of information over mobile. How less
information you provide and how you provide it is the key.
Elimination and simplification are key to increasing the adoption
of mobile banking,” said CS.

CS spoke about concerns regarding the security
of mobile banking, which is a topic of much debate.

If implemented properly the mobile banking
platform can be as or more secure than regular internet banking,
said CS.

“While the mobile transaction goes through two
platforms, it is fairly evident that mobile banking can be tied to
a particular device and it is assured that nobody else can access
that if he or she doesn’t have the device.”

It is also fairly common, though, for people
to lose their devices, said CS, adding that security is a “very
important tenant” of mobile banking and since it is a wireless
channel, the fear related to it is more and surveys show that
people are worried. But there is “a fair amount of real problems
and a fair amount of perceived problems” related to mobile
bankingmobile banking webinar poll, said CS.

While authentication remains a major aspect in
security, different aspect channels have different security
considerations, he said.

“The SMS channel for instance will have
completely different aspect of security compared to a browser
channel with a rich downloadable application. With each access
channel the usability considerations are also different,” he

Striking the balance between security and
usability, however, is vital. “In most of the surveys we have found
that it is not the transactions that is difficult, it is the on
boarding that is difficult,” said CS.

“Most banks and technology vendors falter at
the point where the registration process is extremely cumbersome.
Here in Finacle we use the technology to deal with registration and
activation separately. We always refer to registration of a
particular user while we refer to activation of a particular
device,” informed CS.

“The world is moving to stage where users are
authenticated, devices are authenticated, and you mange them in
such a manner that together you have the complete security,” added

If registration authorisation, security, and
two-factor authentication are taken care of, everything else is
“fairly simple” said CS.

Lastly, CS emphasised that the end game should
be to use the mobile channel as a controlling device. “At this
stage, 90% emphasis is on display and 10% on control. You fast
forward four years and probably 10% of the mobile phone will be
used for display and 90% for control.”

“With a minimum click of a few buttons, you
will be able to control not only mobile banking but all your other
channels – how your ATM needs to behave, how your online channel
needs to behave, and such. Mobile banking is less about banking
details on the mobile phone. Perhaps it is the remote control to
your actual banking,” said CS.

With the focus still on security at present,
the next growth will happen through personalisation in mobile
banking, said CS, and having a compelling user interface that knows
the needs of the customer is what is required, he added.

“Mobile versus mobility is a long journey and
it all depends on how you integrate mobile with you other
channels,” said CS.

The next speaker, Niewierra, continued CS’s
point regarding personalisation of the mobile channel and spoke it
being a key focus in ABN AMRO’s mobile banking platform.

Niewierra talked about how, being a customer
centric bank, ABN AMRO differentiates itself in the market by
offering a personalised mobile banking platform that gets regularly
updated and enhanced to improve the user engagement and

Niewierra also spoke about the Dutch market
being very responsive to the adoption of mobile banking and gave
listeners a sneak preview of the new mobile banking app that ABN
AMRO is launching, which takes visual banking to a more
personalised level [read Niewierra’s interview on pgs 6 and 7 for
more information].

A question answer session followed the
presentations and Blakey asked both panellist questions regarding
the difference between mobile banking and online banking on a
mobile device, and the extent to which mobile banking can be
integrated with social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and

Two spot polls were conducted for the
listeners during the webinar.