Simpson Keeps City Bank Texas a Step Ahead of Big Banks

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  • We heard it again and again from Charaka Kithulegoda and other bankers honored in our Mobile Banker of the Year package this year: simplicity and ease of use are the keys to sound mobile banking app design.
    June 3

A year ago, City Bank Texas' mobile app lacked what many big banks' apps had: mobile remote deposit capture. Now, the community bank in Lubbock offers the popular feature and provides something that many big banks do not: Allied Payment Network's Picture Pay, an application that lets customers pay bills by taking photos of them with their mobile phones' cameras.

"Mobile RDC is unreal," says Jim Simpson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at the $2 billion bank. "The feature is exploding, to be honest with you."

Already, the bank has increased mobile RDC limits to $3,000 from the original $1,500 threshold, and customers are still hankering to deposit bigger checks, Simpson says. Mobile RDC launched in October. Meanwhile, Picture Pay, which just hit customers this spring, has been getting consistent usage. The bank doesn't release specific numbers.

A drive to set itself apart from the banking herd motivates such technology debuts at the community bank. "We are in a real competitive market. There is a bank on every corner and our customers deserve it," says Simpson. "They deserve more functionality than the bank down the street."

Longer-standing features distinguishing City Bank Texas's mobile app from other financial institutions' apps include card control functionalities such as debit card deactivation and reactivation, the ability to unblock foreign transactions and the means to temporarily increase ATM cash withdrawal amounts or point-of-sale debit limits. City Bank Texas partners with Malauzai Software on its mobile product.

Customer pain points shared with the bank's call center agents guide development plans. "The knowledge is there," says Simpson.

In the coming months, the bank will build in-app check order capabilities and enhance Picture Pay to include a bill payment tracking status view, a feature that borrows from the way Fedex and UPS shows shippers the status of their packages en route. The bank plans to add gift card balance checks to its app, too.

That's just the beginning for the bank, which is watching digital wallet developments closely. "It's interesting to see how fast mobile is moving," says Simpson. "As bankers start to understand a certain area of it, mobile sort of changes."

City Bank Texas plans to listen, ready to respond to what it hears. On its radar already, among other initiatives, is decoupling cards from a customer's account. In other words, a card would be City Bank Texas branded, but the transaction might count toward frequent flyer miles attached to an outside account, should a customer choose. "A hybrid card concept delivered by a bank could be a big play," says Simpson.

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