Thursday, October 16, 2008

Japanese-style Mobile Banking

3 million customers. 195 employees.

No branches. No ATMs

Japan's eBANK Corporation is raising the bar for Mobile Banking. Their vision of providing each customer with a hand-held branch is quickly taking shape.

With its origins as an Internet Bank, eBANK quickly adopted a mobile banking platform to capitalize on mobile phone usage in Japan. With IMS Research estimating that there will close to a billion worldwide mobile banking users making about 62 billion transactions by 2012, eBANK is definitely ahead of the curve.

eBANK provides ATMs to customers through access agreements with other financial institutions.

New accounts can be opened using a mobile phone, with the customer sending their driver's license picture or other ID via their phone's camera - eBANK uses optical character recognition and digital data to confirm identities electronically.

With over-the-air (OTA) transactions already commonplace in Japan, the phone even serves as a payment and money-transfer vehicle.

The future is calling and eBANK is there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bank of America Hunkers Down

Citing "the most difficult times for financial institutions that I have experienced in my 39 years in banking", Kenneth D. Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America stated that the bank is aiming for an 8 percent Tier 1 capital ratio target.

Yesterday, B of A announced 3rd quarter earnings, along with initiatives to raise capital levels. With 3rd quarter net income dropping from $3.70 billion a year ago to $1.18 billion this year, the bank will be cutting its dividend and selling common stock to raise capital.

Despite the turbulence of the past two months, Bank of America gained $21 billion in retail deposits during the quarter as consumers moved money to safety (excluding the impact of the Countrywide acquisition). That gain was almost three times the industry average.