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Corporate mobile banking presents untapped opportunity for banks

Corporate mobile banking is becoming quite popular as more corporate treasurers and chief financial officers reap the benefits of managing their companies’ transactions – payroll, vendor management, cash management and liquidity positions – from a mobile device.

‘When it comes to mobile banking the user experience is key,” said George Ravich, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Fundtech Corp., Jersey City, NJ. “Executives on the go want access to your subservices anytime and anywhere.

“But the real game-changer is the advent of the tablet computer, which will be sold in incredible volume in the next few years,” he said. “They are not just wanted by consumers either, they are for people in business as well.”

Fundtech Ltd is a provider of software services to financial institutions around the world.

The company develops and sells a broad array of products across the “financial supply chain” that enable banks to automate their corporate banking activities in order to improve efficiency, while providing their customers flexibility, convenience and control.

Tablets driving the trend
The corporate mobile banking trend is a new one. Fundtech is beginning to see the ways in which mobile devices, the iPad specifically, are revolutionizing how business banking operates.

Fundtech found that 65 percent of treasurers are interested in mobile services and over half are willing to pay for it.

More than 40 percent of the respondents to Fundtech’s survey described themselves as “likely” or “very likely” to use mobile corporate banking services to perform basic transactions such as checking balances or transferring funds.

Even more importantly, over 55 percent of treasurers expressed interest in performing more advanced functions such as approving transactions and initiating payments via a mobile device.

Another interesting point made during the luncheon was that mobile banking technology has primarily been offered to the consumer/retail channel. However, survey results indicate that corporate mobile banking presents a new, untapped opportunity for banks.

Money to be made
Interestingly, approximately 49 percent of businesses are willing to pay for the convenience of mobile cash management capabilities, pointing toward the ability for banks to generate fee-based revenues to cover some of the cost associated with this kind of technology investment.

“There is a lot of power to have the added convenience of people being able to be productive and approve a transaction on the go,” Mr. Ravich said. “Corporate is willing to pay extra for this service.”

The largest opportunity for corporate mobile banking exists among middle-market customers, with annual revenues up to $10 billion.

Security is a concern for more than 65 percent of treasury executives. Half of treasury executives surveyed view anytime, anywhere access to banking information as the primary benefit of corporate mobile banking.

When it comes to mobile and security, Ed Gainer, senior vice president of Fundtech, said that apps are more secure than the mobile Web.

“I think the app approach is definitely something that is going to change corporate banking because of the security aspect,” Mr. Gainer said. “More people will do this because they are assured they will not be hacked.”

The Fundtech approach
Fundtech Mobile ACCESSplus is a mobile platform designed specifically for corporate mobile banking.

The platform can be used for mobile corporate banking functions including payments and cash management. The platform makes for easier transactions and companies claims it is secure.

Mobile ACCESSplus is available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft devices.

The platform will be live in the U.S. sometime in third quarter of this year.

“We decided to take the top four or five platforms,” Mr. Gainer said. “We basically write an app for one of the platforms and then we have something called a mobile access server which translates the app to the native mode that we are going to show to the mobile access server.

“As things change with these platforms it allows us to change them in the server,” he said.

Final Take
George Ravich is the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Fundtech