The struggles of regional banks to win small-business banking deposits are heading to the nascent mobile banking space, says Aite Group.

In a new report that surveyed 50 top U.S. banks and 147 small businesses using online banking, Aite found that the regional banks are badly trailing other categories of large, community and non-bank institutions (credit unions and brokerages) in client plans for mobile banking. For example, 38 percent of the small businesses clients of the “big five” banks (and soon to be four, among BofA, Citi, Wells Fargo/Wachovia and JPMorgan) expect to use mobile banking; while only 25 percent of regional bank e-banking users expected to. For small businesses planning to use mobile for intrabank transfers or bill pays, regional banks bottomed out the rankings with 18 and 14 percent respectively.

“The regional banks have simply been the ones struggling the most in developing relationships with small businesses,” wrote senior analysts Nick Holland and Christine Barry. “They don't have the geographic footprints and strong brands that attract small businesses to the Big Five, and they don't have the community feel offered by smaller banks.”

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