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WASHINGTON-More than half of the Top 100 financial institutions in the United States offered mobile banking services as of September, according to a new study by First Annapolis Consulting.

The firm, which is a specialized management consulting and mergers and acquisitions advisory firm with a focus on the payments industry, said it was surprised to find mobile banking activity was not concentrated among the Top 25 or even Top 50, with many smaller banks actively utilizing vendor capabilities to offer mobile solutions.

Of the Top 100, nearly 40% offer access via mobile web, while 32% offer SMS banking and/or alerts and 32% provide apps. Apple's iOS remains the main platform for launching application-based banking, but the firm said financial institutions have realized the importance of other operating system leaders. Sixteen percent and 14% percent now offer a RIM Blackberry or Google Android application, respectively.

A detailed evaluation of features available by channel revealed mobile web and app channels often provide virtually the same capabilities, First Annapolis said. Balance inquiries and transaction history are standard, but new features help banks differentiate themselves from competition. Seventeen percent offer GPS-enabled branch/ATM locators, and 35% allow mobile bill pay (most require pre-entered payees, but not all). Additionally, several banks are expanding their offerings to include mobile deposit capture, P2P, offers and loyalty programs, and rewards management and redemption.

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