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Bank of the West has joined the early adopters of technology that lets customers pay bills by photographing them with their smartphones, making mobile bill payment easier and potentially reinforcing the customer-retention benefits of online bill pay.


Across the country, community banks are defying the stereotype of small institutions as technological laggards, sometimes introducing useful digital features well ahead of the better-resourced and purportedly savvier big banks.

Jack Hartings is a vocal proponent of reduced regulation for small banks. But the CEO of Peoples Bank in Ohio wants Washington to force other industries to share the burden of improving cybersecurity and cleaning up after breaches.

Digit, a startup in San Francisco targeting millennials, has launched a service that crunches checking account data to determine daily amounts to automatically transfer into users' savings accounts. Its debut points to how personal financial management services are growing up to do the work on the consumer's behalf.

The megabank's commitment to its branches stands out in an industry where customers are shifting more of their banking activity to mobile devices and PCs, and where banks take an increasingly ruthless look at branch performance numbers.
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Like a number of startups and "neobanks" that have sprouted up to challenge incumbent retail banks, Fidor Bank is positioning itself as a more consumer-friendly, tech-savvy alternative.

San Francisco-based Sindeo is trying to bring the mortgage brokerage business into the future, creating a new online service that focuses on helping consumers navigate the often confusing mortgage process from start to finish.

Most millennials do almost all of their other business on a portable device, so they want to have this same functionality when buying a home.

Gemalto, which manufactures SIM cards and EMV chips, is investigating a report that U.S. and U.K. spy agencies hacked into the company's network and stole mobile phone encryption keys, a technology also used to secure card data.

At least two financial services groups say none of their U.S. bank members have reported the existence of Carbanak malware in their networks, suggesting the threat may not be significant.
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Orrstown Bank in Pennsylvania has introduced two-way text messaging between customers and its service agents. It's the latest effort in the banking industry to make communication easier for mobile-first customers.
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American retailers have struggled with mobile payments, largely because they try to reinvent the entire buying process instead of evolving what's already there. Starbucks' success is rooted in its willingness to take the easiest route time and again, an approach that is clear in how it chose to implement Apple Pay.  read more »
8 Things Apple Pay Left Out

Apple's long-anticipated move into mobile payments seemed to cover all the bases -- Apple Pay will launch with the support of major banks, card networks and retailers. But there were several things that didn't make it into the first version of its mobile wallet.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

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