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Wells Fargo rakes in 8.5M mobile bankers

As mobile banking has gained traction, Wells Fargo has rolled out advanced services such as mobile deposits to its clients. The program is currently being piloted in seven states in the United States with plans for a bigger roll out later this year.

“For us, the first five years were about taking care of customers and what you see happen over the next five years is beginning to work in things that are unique to mobile,” said Brian Pearce, senior vice president and head of the retail mobile channel at Wells Fargo, San Francisco.

Wells Fargo provides insurance, investments, banking and mortgages to consumers and commercial businesses and has more than 9,000 stores and 12,000 ATMS.

Bank on mobile
Wells Fargo initially launched its mobile site in 2007. At the time, the iPhone was still a new device that many marketers did not know how to tackle, meaning that the optimized site only offered simple functions such as checking balances and viewing transactions.

The company claims that mobile is growing at twice the pace of its Web banking.

More than one billion mobile banking sessions have been initiated through Wells Fargo’s applications, mobile site and text banking, per the company.

Wells Fargo has smartphone apps for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Palm devices as well as a mobile site and a text banking program.

According to Mr. Pearce, there is also a healthy appetite from consumers to manage their finances on tablets.

Earlier this year, the company optimized its Android app for Kindle Fire devices (see story).

After seeing a substantial amount of iPad traffic, Wells Fargo has made its mobile site more user-friendly to give clients a better experience.

An iPad app is also in Wells Fargo’s pipeline to get out by the end of the year, per Mr. Pearce.

Sophisticated features
As mobile banking gains traction as a primary method for consumers to access their accounts, financial institutions are constantly testing new features to build a stronger one-on-one relationship with consumers.

To do this, more financial institutions are taking advantage of the inherent qualities of mobile to roll out more sophisticated features. For instance, mobile deposit uses a device’s built-in camera and should be used by more financial institutions.

Wells Fargo also recently rolled out its Send & Receive Money feature, which lets Wells Fargo and Bank of America clients receive and send money to each other. The service works by using an email address or mobile phone number.

“The key for us is to not [let mobile] compete with other channels,” Mr. Pearce said.

“We know that people have adopted this mobile lifestyle, and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can do to manage their finances while on the go and serve all customers in that manner,” he said.

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