Thursday, August 28, 2008

Deposit Checks - From Your Cell Phone!

Forget the ATM or the branch - Amplify Credit Union in Austin, Texas has just made it possible to deposit a check via your cell phone!

Amplify launched their Instant Deposit Online service in April 2008, allowing members to deposit checks from any computer with access to the web. On June 13th, the service was extended to cell phone users with a web browser.

A quick glance at Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Wachovia mobile offerings turned up no comparable capability, making this a truly innovative solution for Amplify's members.

Kent White, Vice President of Marketing at Amplify, says "With Instant Deposit Online, you can now deposit checks literally from the palm of your hand. It's a real reflection of our 'Bank Less, Live More' approach to banking."

The software that drives the service was developed by Austin-based Jwaala, a financial services software developer. Jwaala is currently in negotiations to offer the service to other credit unions outside of Texas.

Amplify, founded in 1967, is a $450 million credit union serving more than 40,000 members in the five-county area surrounding Austin, TX.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Email Opens & Clicks Increase for Financial Institutions

MailerMailer recently released its Email Marketing Metrics Report for the second half of 2007. The report revealed several insights into email marketing usage for Financial Institutions.

Open rates* for Banking/Finance emails in the second half (H2) of 2007 were 28.84%, increasing from first half (H1) rates of 28.07%. Compared to overall average open rates of 13.98% in H2, consumers clearly give high priority to Banking/Finance emails.

Click-through rates** for Banking/Finance emails showed a similar increase in H2 at 6.98% vs. 6.52% in H1. The report also details performance by list size, bounce rates and other valuable information.

* Unique open rates are calculated as the number of addresses which were tracked as having viewed a message divided by the total number of HTML messages sent. Each address, even if it opened the message more than once, was counted only once; hence, showing unique opens. Open rates are becoming less accurate with many people reading email from hand held devices and disabling image downloading. The fact that click rates remained fairly steady suggests that people are still reading the messages even though fewer opens are being reported.

** Click through rates record how many times the links in an email message were clicked. It includes clicks from both text and HTML format recipients.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Here Comes Mobile Banking

Recently, we provided a prospective client with research on the current state of mobile banking. A few things stood out:

  • Big banks are leading the way. Bank of America acquired 500,000 active m-banking customers within 6 months of the launch of its free mobile service. With 23 million active online users, however, Bank of America still has room for growth.
  • Sophisticated new mobile devices like the iPhone and the Blackberry are enabling a positive user experience.
  • A 2007 Forrester Research study estimated that 10% of US mobile users were prepared to adopt mobile banking, compared to the 35% adoption rate of online banking in the US.
  • New 2008 research from Harris Interactive indicates that 16% of mobile phone subscribers already use mobile banking services, with 60% of this group using the services at least once a week.
  • The US is behind the adoption curve. South Korea made m-banking services available several years ago and currently has over 5 million users. Japan and Europe are three years ahead of the US in launching mobile banking services.
What does it all mean? If history is any guide, mobile banking is here to stay. And think of the possibilities - a low-cost branch in your customer's hip pocket...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

FTC Updates CAN-SPAM Act

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently made changes to the CAN-SPAM Act, outlining new regulations for commercial email distribution. You can read the FTC press release here and the full FTC rule change here (see May 12, 2008).

The changes, at a high level, address the following four topics:
(1) Make unsubscribes/opt-outs easy for consumers
(2) Multiple "senders" within a single email, under certain circumstances, may identify a single company as the "designated sender" of a commercial email
(3) a post office box or private mailbox can now be used to meet address requirements
(4) a definition of the term “person” was expanded to include companies and other entities

If you have any questions on these rule changes, please contact Mercury Direct.