The FYI From BAI

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Among some of the observations and points made worth noting from BAI's Retail Delivery Show included:

How To Steal Someone's Data

* Not surprisingly, much of the meeting's content dealt with online security breaches. And while the acres and acres of vendors filling the exhibit hall were touting their own security solutions, Bill Harris, chairman of PassMark Security and the former CEO of PayPal, noted that in many cases it remains quite easy to steal customers' data-in part because they give it up.

Harris said all that's necessary, for instance, is to create a website for some popular affinity, such as cats. All that would be required to visit all the free cat-related content (which wouldn't even have to exist) would be for the online visitor to provide a user name and password.

Since most consumers use the same username and password across providers in order to remember them, the scammer captures both and then begins hitting the large online bank sites until he gets a hit, he observed.

Account Activity? Call Me

* One security breach-related plan mentioned by several presenters at the meeting involves an automatic call to the account-holder's cellphone anytime there is significant activity being done online in the person's account. The account-holder would have to grant permission via their cellphone for the activity to proceed.

"There's no reason you can't proactively alert customers when there is activity on their accounts," observed one analyst.

Open Longer, Costing More

* Gene Kirby of SunTrust was asked what concerned him when it comes to branches. Kirby responded by pointing to the expanding operating hours many smaller banks are offering, going not just to being open seven days per week, but to being open longer each day.

"I'm very concerned that is going to put an incredible strain on the branch cost structure as banks are forced to respond," he said.

Breaches And Customer Confidence

* Throughout the BAI meeting one issue that was also repeatedly addressed was the effect the various data breaches might be having on growth rates of online banking and Bill Pay. As one person summed up, "All of this comes back to what I think is the most important piece of this equation, and that is customer or consumer confidence."

Personalizing Your Own Policy

* One Bank of America representative, in pondering questions surrounding online security, had this proposal, "Why not allow customers who care to to tailor their security policy to their own needs?"

Large To Some, But Not To Others

* The BAI meeting continued to have a significant representation from credit unions, and CUNA hosted a reception for those on hand. Several of the CU attendees who were on hand for the first time remarked on the size of the BAI show, which is considerably larger than any credit union show, but the meeting appeared smaller than in years past. BAI reported that it printed 800,000 copies of session handouts for the meeting.

Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another

* During the conference BAI showed videoclips of man-in-the-street interviews it did asking people what they think of their banks (the one person who mentioned their credit union spoke highly of it). Perhaps the most interesting response came from a young man who was asked, "What do you think of your bank," and he responded, "They treat me like *& !." But what was more amazing was his next statement: "I've been there 12 or 14 years."

Another woman was asked the same question, "What do you think of your bank?" and she responded "They treat me well. Although they only let me come in three times a month."

What Happens In Vegas

* The BAI Retail Delivery Show will return to Las Vegas in 2006.

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