MACU 1st To Launch iPad App

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WEST JORDAN, Utah-Mountain America CU here has become the first credit union to offer a custom application for Apple's iPad tablet computer as part of the CU's massive move into mobile banking on Apple, Android, Blackberry, Palm and Windows Mobile devices.

"Our first iPad app is an optimized version of our current iPhone app," said Tony Rasmussen, SVP-eServices at the $2.8 billion CU. "Future releases will expand beyond the iPhone presentment and take advantage of the additional space and rich visual display the iPad offers."

The Mountain America (MACU) iPad app appeared in Apple's App Store on August 3, Rasmussen said. The free online banking application allows members who use iPads to check balances, transfer funds, graph expenses, contact the CU via secure messaging and more.

MACU wasn't satisfied asking members to use its existing iPhone or Web apps on iPads, Rasmussen suggested. "The iPhone app isn't optimized to take advantage of the additional real estate on the iPad screen and appears slightly pixilated when enlarged." Usually, iPad applications are faster and perform better than Web applications on the iPad.

Future MACU apps might allow members to view several widgets or windows simultaneously on the iPad's larger, sharper screen, with one widget showing balance with transaction history, one with bill pay and one with online financial management, for example, said Rasmussen.

The CU's iPad app is part of an extensive line of MACU mobile banking applications that can be used on more than 300 Apple, Android, Blackberry, Palm and Windows Mobile devices, said Rasmussen. "We want to enable our members with the tools they need to make their financial dreams a reality. If we offered only an iPhone app, that doesn't do the members who use other devices any good. It would limit our ability to serve the most members possible."

More than 5,000 members use one of MACU's applications on a mobile device -most often a Blackberry or Windows device. About 1,800 use MACU's text-message (SMS) banking, whereas more than 15,000 members use the CU's browser-based (WAP) mobile banking on a mobile device or computer. "Hitting our mobile site is easy from any Web-enabled device," said Rasmussen. "It doesn't require a download or a visit to an online store."

MACU's mobile banking venture is just beginning to heat up, he continued. "The mobile channel causes us to think differently about the services we offer our members. Success in the mobile space is critical. More people have access to a mobile device more often than they do a PC."

A mobile banking application for Android tablets and other tablet computers is on the horizon, as is mobile check deposit, said Rasmussen. MACU develops mobile banking applications in partnership with Berkeley, Calif.-based Access Softek, a software development firm.

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