For more than a year now we've been writing about how personal financial management (PFM) tools are the "must have" addition to online banking. And not without reason. Recent Aite Group research found that 35 percent of big banks say they already have some facet of PFM, and 60 percent are considering an offering. There's also plenty of froth in the market. Intuit bought Mint.com for $170 million last year and Citibank and Microsoft went live with Bundle.com in February.
As I see it, there are two problems with the hype surrounding banks and PFM. The first is that this is strictly big-bank territory. Community bank CEOs are focused on cleaning up their balance sheets, increasing efficiency, and, to the extent that they're looking at technology, they want to squeeze savings from existing contracts or efficiency from already-owned technology (see Top Community Bank IT Initiatives, p. 24). Many haven't even migrated to their core provider's latest generation of online banking, and most of those current versions don't offer PFM.