MyPrivateBanking Blog
Daily Comments on the World of Wealth Management

Archive for February, 2014

Banking apps – a missed marketing opportunity

Friday, February 28th, 2014

A quick peek preview into the upcoming MyPrivateBanking ‘Mobile Apps for Banking report’ (April 2014) reveals that above all, the lack of interesting marketing content provided for clients and non-clients is one of the banking apps’ major weaknesses.

The majority of banks show an unsatisfactory integration of additional content in their main banking apps. Only a few manage to offer good content promoting the bank and their products. For further information the user is generally referred to the website, opening in a separate browser, which then often has clumsy navigation or looks crammed in on a mobile device. And that is odd, given the fact that the app is the first and foremost contact point for clients with their bank. It’s also startling that so few banks consider the needs of non-clients and offer information prior to the log-in-screen, which could be a good way to inform and attract potential customers. Most of the content is only available behind the password protected walls of the app.

Every physical bank branch displays posters, brochures, client magazines, even multi-media terminals are available, to cross-market products to clients or distribute general information. But the significance of the regular branch office is rapidly shrinking compared to the increasing number of clients who carry their personal branch office in their pockets. It is a huge opportunity to use this mobile channel, which is much more frequently visited by clients than a bricks-and-mortar office, to sell products, advertise services and strengthen the bank’s brand.


How to lead clients on the right path in the mobile banking app

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Thinking of user paths not only means considering which is the most user-friendly route, but also guiding the user to specific locations within a digital space. When it comes to apps, users have to be guided with care because their actions and responses may be different from those that have been observed for customers on a PC browser, accessing a bank website, for example.  Banks must think of how to guide users to the app in order to get a return on their investment. In the beginning banks were able to attract app users with very simple apps. Now, however, rapid development has raised standards and clever, thoughtfully constructed apps are flooding into the mobile app space. In order to be able to live up to current expectations of user experience, banks should think through user paths when developing an app and embedding it in its environment.

The following three aspects of user paths are useful to consider:

Finding the app: the interfaces the user will connect to before acquiring an app include the bank’s website and/or the app store from where the app can be downloaded for their device. The website should give an overview of the whole app catalog, provide brief descriptions, screen shots and links to the app stores where the app is available.  The app store where the user will be able to download the app should also have all significant features listed.

Utilizing the app: development of in-app navigation should be closely linked to the objective for which the app has been developed in the first place. If clients are to be persuaded to move from branch banking to mobile banking, banks should provide a mobile banking app that explains, demonstrates and facilitates the process of registering for mobile banking. If a bank wants to support clients by providing a branch finder, a map or list of branches is the primary step - but it shouldn’t end there. Anticipating the information needs of clients with regard to opening hours, services provided and the telephone number of each branch is also necessary. Another example is advertising products: instead of just making banner advertisements, banks can provide simulators which assist the client in the important (financial) questions of life. Within the framework of our current research, we find a lot of banks have developed simulator tools for clients and prospective clients but have missed a vital final step: providing a link so that the app user can apply for the appropriate product or service.

Moving on from the app: an app is relatively strictly confined regarding the depth and breadth of content and functions it can provide and therefore cannot fulfill all client needs. However, considering the devices on which apps operate there are almost infinite possibilities for how banks can continue to interact with the user beyond the boundaries of one app. Providing product and services information in an app, for instance, is a hard task as banking products are often very complex and regulated. A sensible solution would be to outline the distinctive features of a product and then link to the website for further information. Also, communication or help within the app is limited to covering basic questions, perhaps by providing FAQs, for example. However, open questions will remain and, therefore, communication features for various kinds of contact are necessary. For instance, an assistance hotline for technical difficulties will be very useful for less tech-savvy clients. Enabling users to comment on an app by offering a feedback form is a good idea.

Summing up, banks need to consider what they want to achieve by providing an app. Should it be a marketing app or does the bank want to support the user? Which paths would the bank like him or her to go down and which paths are important to the user? In order to be really useful, an app should not only provide the first step along the road to the desired objective but should offer multiple paths of action for the user in order to stay connected with the bank and reach that ultimate goal: increasing the value of the client relationship.


Apps for financial advisors on fast track

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

At MyPrivateBanking we’re looking forward to the launch of our 2014 report on Advisor Apps in Wealth Management in early March (2nd edition). Plenty has been happening in the field of mobile applications for wealth management advisors since we published our first report on the topic 12 months ago. Since the New Year, our researchers have had an interesting time seeing some features that seemed novel a year ago become widely adopted and discovering new innovative ‘first shoots’ in app functionality, plus coming across one or two surprises. Our 2014 report will reflect the fast development in the wealth management sector with:
In depth research of wider field of mobile application vendors; 15 in all, including eight that we are covering for the first time

A more detailed look at the real-life dynamics of client meetings and how apps can improve advisor/relationship manager effectiveness

New projections about the direction in which wealth management apps are heading, based on the evidence of our research

Careful attention to the latest thinking and practice in areas such as app security, matching apps for wealth clients, report publishing and document management

Fresh insights on how vendors see the future of mobile technology in wealth management , gained by our interviews with leading industry participants

Based on detailed interviews with banks/wealth managers about the current state of their industry, both trends and needs, in order to get the full picture of the market.