As in real estate, location matters when it comes to getting bank customers to use personal finance management tools. The tools should be in a prominent place on the online banking site so customers know what new services are available.
Regions Bank (RF), which rolled out PFM tools earlier this month, is one institution trying to make PFM and online banking work in tandem.
"We believe over time we need to take components of PFM and bring them forward in an online experience," Chris Cox, head of Regions' eBusiness, tells Bank Technology News.
"It will become a part of customers' everyday interaction once they log in online," Cox says.
Perhaps the ability to set and track goals would sit alongside a customer's view of his savings account, rather than being an additional click or two away, Cox says.
But melding PFM and online banking is not something that can be accomplished overnight.
"It depends on the rest of our initiative pipeline," Cox says. "We anticipate moving it forward this year."
Projects involving core processing, online banking and mobile banking are also in the queue.
Regions Bank, a unit of Regions Financial of Birmingham, Ala., uses technology from Geezeo to power its personal financial media offerings.
Sapient, a strategic partner of Geezeo, was also instrumental in this collaborative project with Regions.
The bank houses its PFM tools in a primary tab of its online banking site called Insights. In the section, customers can aggregate other financial accounts, create savings and payoff goals, categorize transactions, create budgets, review cash flow and set up alerts, among other things.
To draw attention to the Insights tab, Regions provides online banking customers with pie charts of their transactions on their online banking home page, teasing to the Insights section to encourage the customer to click on it.
This feature may be one of the reasons the bank is getting better results than it expected.
"In our first two weeks, we have seen a higher than expected level of engagement from customers overall and a higher level of engagement with those customers that have a deeper relationship with us," Cox says. (Regions Financial does not disclose the number of online banking customers it has.)
The bank is marketing the tool set aggressively.
"We won't bombard customers with messages, but we will be very targeted in how we promote the feature set," Cox says.
The bank is running a commercial touting the service and demonstrates the features on Regions.com.
Cox says the bank has mobile and tablet PFM opportunities on its radar and is looking at ways to tailor the user experience to the hardware.