When RBS Citizens first launched a mobile banking app for its corporate customers in 2010, James Gifas, head of RBS Citizens Treasury Solutions, had been inspired by a business customer's story. The customer had had a tough time on a road-trip vacation because she was the only person in her office who could approve wire transfers over a certain dollar amount. She kept having to pull over to the side of the road, boot up her computer, and release payments. Gifas wondered if a mobile app could help solve this problem. (Presumably with another driver at the wheel.)
Nine months later, the $118 billion-asset Providence, R.I. bank launched AccessMobile, a mobile banking service for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices. The app was information oriented — clients could do things like look to see if certain payments had come in. More than 75% of the bank's targeted cash management customers downloaded a version of the app within the first three months of its release.
"People want some of the same conveniences they have in their personal lives in business, and to be able to work remotely and travel and visit their customers and grow their businesses," Gifas notes.
Two weeks ago, the bank launched the second generation of the app, AccessMobile2. "Customers wanted more information and they wanted to do more with the app," Gifas says. Corporate clients can now deposit checks, initiate and approve wire transfers, add and remove users, and make positive pay decisions. The mobile service is an extension of RBS' online cash management services. In addition to an iPhone app, the latest launch includes apps for iPad and Android devices and a new mobile-optimized website that delivers AccessMobile functionality to web-enabled mobile devices such as BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
RBS decides which features to include and which to leave out partially based on feedback from a 15-member customer advisor panel. The bank also recently polled 900 customers to find out the features and functions they're interested in.
The bank has found the smartphone is emerging as the device business customers go to first, rather than being a backup — even when they're at work in front of a desktop computer.
"We originally built the app with disaster recovery in mind," Gifas says. "We were surprised that this has emerged as the device customers go to first. It's easy to turn on your smartphone and go in and approve a wire transfer or make a deposit." Customers will be sitting at their desk on a conference call or doing a webinar and release a payment from their smartphone, without having to log in through the online banking.
"Customers are asking for what's next," Gifas says. "Now we're looking at what other functionality should be added, what other conveniences should we put on this solution?"
RBS Citizens also offers several consumer banking mobile apps, for which it receives high marks in the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace from users.