Bank of America Execs Assert Mobile Banking and Security Are Top Priorities

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Bank of America executives can't stress strongly enough how seriously they take their mobile banking initiatives.

"Mobile is in our DNA," explains David Godsman, an online and mobile solutions executive at Bank of America. "It's how we operate our business."

At a briefing for reporters in Manhattan Tuesday, he said that BofA is constantly evolving and refining the security around its mobile banking application.

That could mean different forms of authentication — such as biometric or voice authentication.

"You will continue to see heightened awareness around security," Godsman added. "It's our No.1 priority as a company."

Earlier this week, the bank began a TV advertising campaign promoting its BankAmeriDeals program that targets customers with merchant-funded offers. The service went online for all BofA customers last month, and provides offers for users with transaction data the company already curates.

Echoing the sentiments of the bank executives is consumer research Google released Tuesday around American attitudes toward mobile computing and mobile banking.

The search engine giant's statistics said mobile banking websites are one of the six types of online portals that users expect to load in short order, five seconds or less.

That means, Google says, that banks can no longer afford to not provide customized tablet and smartphone services.

"We don't see it going back the other way," says Jerry Canning, Google's industry director of financial services, who works with marketers across banking, lending, insurance and other similar businesses. "It's only going to continue to grow and it's really the consumers that dictate that the banks need to be there."

More proof: 67% of surveyed consumers agreed with the statement, "A mobile-friendly site makes me more likely to buy a product or use a service." And 61% agreed that, "If I don't see what I'm looking for right away on a mobile site, I'll quickly move on to another site."

Consumers shared the banking and finance tasks they consider most important: 77% selected the ability to check account balances; 65% choose the ability to get directions or operating hours; 61% value being able to log into an account; 51% would like to pay bills or transfer money.

The company offers prescriptions on how to shape these mobile portals, such as providing bigger touch-screen buttons, and, not surprisingly, marketing using Google's ads.

For the past five years, Google has been offering industry prescriptions on how banks and others should handle their web presence.

This latest study illustrates the need for a mobile presence as more and more retail bank customers do their banking on the go. The research surveyed 1,088 people between 25 and 54 in the third quarter of this year.

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