What Lies Ahead For E-Services?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.-Where should credit unions invest their dollars when it comes to e-banking?

Increased personalization, widespread adoption of mobile banking and direct person-to-person payments are the future of electronic banking, according to industry experts.

"As time goes on you will see the self-service model evolving to the next level," predicted uMonitor President/CEO Dinesh Sheth. "You and I will be doing everything from our desks or smartphones. The consumer will be getting more comfortable doing everything from any device."

With personal financial management solutions (PFM) already catching fire, the next major change in electronic banking will be personalizing that channel and turning it into a true virtual branch. Sheth sees PFMs of the near future providing very personalized and holistic service and acting like personal financial advisors. PFMs will be able to prompt one individual with an offer to help pay a bill, while another individual would receive a prompt to invest parked money in a new CD or other product by compiling account information and comparing it to member-stated financial goals.

Those same management solutions could also ease the headaches of tax time.

Intuit Financial Services rolled out TurboTax for its online banking solutions at 1,200 financial institutions this year, which pre-filled 10% of users' tax forms. Tobin Lee, Senior Leader of Corporate Communications at Intuit sees a 10-minute tax return filed through banks and CUs' online banking solutions as a distinct possibility in the coming years.

Advanced mobile devices and widespread adoption of mobile banking is likely to blur the line between mobile and traditional online banking, added Intuit Financial Services SVP-Consumer Solutions Albert Ko.

"It's really the mobile device that is going to transform online banking," he explained. "It's not [going to be] separate and distinct from online-everything I can expect on my PC I will expect on my mobile device."

Mobile banking will also allow for the rise of "location-based services" customized for the member and the credit union. Intuit could provide offers, such as merchant discounts, to its clients' members through FinanceWorks; the solution already analyzes transaction history but could prompt users with a discount where they already shop or for a competitor. In the near future, PFMs will also be able to provide these offers to users when they are already out and about.

"That day is not far off," said Ko.

Mobile devices will also help propagate person-to-person payment solutions; something many predicted would be the next major e-services trend but has yet to take off. CO-OP SVP-Business Development & Marketing Caroline Lane pointed to PayPal's adaptation of the iPhone's Bump application that allows individuals to transfer funds by tapping their phones together as the first major step in making this technology more widely accepted.

Financial institutions should also expect their traditional websites to become obsolete over the years as social media and interactive sites becomes the norm.

"No longer will social media be used to drive people to websites, instead they will actually be replacing our websites with something much more useful and pleasant to use-similar to the Facebook and Twitter we have now, but enhanced to provide more searchable content and interaction," Robert G. Reh, Vice Chairman of CUNA Technology Council Executive Committee and CIO at Nassau Financial FCU, told Credit Union Journal.

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