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University Federal Credit Union crosses 25pc mobile banking adoption rate

University Federal Credit Union is using a three-pronged mobile banking strategy that includes an optimized site, applications and SMS. University Federal Credit Union is working with mFoundry.

“University Federal Credit Union’s success demonstrates a few things. First, mobile banking is one of the fastest growing services for mobile, a statement that is backed up by the adoption rates we’re seeing on most of our bank and credit union clients,” said Drew Sievers, CEO of mFoundry, San Francisco.

“Second, the lower cost and increased penetration of smartphones, particularly those with strong app ecosystems, provide fertile ground for data-driven mobile services,” he said.

“Third, effective marketing of new mobile services by providers like University Federal Credit Union dramatically increase the potential for success with mobile applications.”

University Federal Credit claims to be Austin’s largest locally-owned financial institution with more than 146,000 members.

MFoundry powers mobile banking for one-third of the top 50 financial institutions in the United States.

Bank on mobile
Since rolling out mobile banking options nine months ago, University Federal Credit Union has registered 20,000 clients for the services.

In particular, the financial institutions’ mobile deposit in its apps have proved to be popular for users. University Federal Credit Union claims to process $2 million in deposits per month.

Beginning this month, the financial institution will make mobile deposits its primary remote deposit service.

As consumers become more comfortable using their handsets as the primary device to manage their finances, more financial institutions are beefing up their mobile services with sophisticated features such as mobile deposits.

Interestingly, University Federal Credit Union says that it is seeing mobile adoption not just coming from early adopters, pointing to the growth in mobile banking for all age groups of consumers.

“Financial institutions need to, at a minimum, offer full mobile banking support across all modes, including apps, mobile Web and text. Robust, flexible apps can then be enhanced with new revenue generating features for banks, and ultimately can evolve to deliver pure mobile payments,” Mr. Sievers said.

“For banks, the goal is simple: keep their customers connected to their money,” he said.

Connected consumers
Mobile banking is growing leaps and bounds, according to multiple recent studies and examples.

For instance, a study last month from Forrester Research found that banks are pouring up to one-third of their digital budgets into mobile.

Top priorities for financial institutions with budgets include person-to-person payments, alerts and remote deposit capture (see story).

As banks look to roll out advanced mobile banking services, the key will be add features that not only take advantage of the smaller size of the mobile phone but also give users an incentive for banking via their devices.

“Smartphone-toting consumer demand for useful applications is on the rise, particularly as more and more consumers move away from old-fashioned feature phones to the more robust mini-computers that are today’s smartphones,” Mr. Sievers said.

“Also, consumers value a persistent connection to their money. Being able to deposit checks, transfer money, find ATMs and pay bills are all activities that can be time, but not necessarily location, dependent,” he said.

“Mobile banking helps consumers stay connected to their money when they need it most.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York