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Credit Union Mobile Banking Adoption Rates Skyrocket

Credit Union Mobile Banking Adoption Rates Skyrocket

Mobile banking adoption rates are exploding, soaring from 20% in 2011 to 33% today, according to a 2013 survey by non-profit electronics payment organization, SWACHA.

Only four years ago mobile banking adoption rates were at a meager 7%, demonstrating that the available technology has ignited a revolution and direct shift in how consumers do business with their financial institution.

“This is our third Consumer Insights Survey since launching the effort in 2009, and with each survey we receive new and insightful information to assist our industry in helping consumers looking to increase their use of electronic payment technologies,” Dennis Simmons, president and CEO of SWACHA tells the San Antonio Business Journal. “This year’s results show many significant trends such as remote deposit capture, which is not only changing the way people interact with technology, but also the way people interact with their banks.”

One specific area of interest is the increased interest in mobile check deposit. In 2011, 16% of the respondents said they would deposit their check using their mobile device, however today 25% either currently use or plan to use this method of deposit. SWACHA’s survey was based on the response of 601 Texas residents.

“We know the future of banking is synonymous with mobile banking, and we must learn to grow and change as technology does, which is why we felt it important this year to start monitoring the use of tablet devices for electronic payments,” Simmons adds. “In 2009 and as recently as 2011, tablets were just coming onto the scene. Today, they are everywhere.”

Members Have Voracious Appetite for Credit Union Technology

Across the board, consumers have embraced mobile technology. This couldn’t be more apparent than from the adoption rates coming from credit unions throughout the country.

Texas Trust Credit Union ($738 million, Mansfield, TX) reports a 60% adoption rate of checking members within the first three months of rollout in March 2013. “Within seven months, 80% of our checking members are now using mobile banking,” says Amber Danford, senior vice president of marketing and business development. “Of our active members use mobile banking to transfer an average of four times per month.”

Danford adds that Texas Trust Mobile Deposit saw over $1 million in deposits in the first month, with weekly averages now climbing over $350k consistently for the last six weeks. “We have received great response from our members who use it on a regular basis,” she says. For Texas Trust, the next feature inclusion will be Mobile Bill Pay.

San Diego County Credit Union ($6.2 billion, San Diego, CA) introduced Mobile Deposit in December 2011 and was the first local institution in San Diego to offer the service. According to Teresa Halleck, President and CEO, SDCCU continues to see increased membership totals from big bank customers. “As of March 2013, the 12 month member growth rate for SDCCU is four times the national average,” she says. “Additionally, asset growth for SDCCU is up nearly three times the national average over the same time period.”

“We track the enrollment in mobile banking compared to online banking, and are currently on target to have mobile enrollment surpass online by June 2014, as mobile grows at 300% annually and online grows at 60% annually,” says Rob Cummings, senior vice president of online & mobile banking for Mountain America Credit Union ($3 billion, West Jordan, UT). “We’re watching the adoption of tablets as well, which is now just over 5% of total mobile app traffic and just under 5% of total web traffic. This has spurred us to begin development on a tablet-specific mobile app experience.”

“We are also carefully watching the usage patterns of mobile and how they differ from online,” Cummings adds. “For example, we see an average of 5.9 visits per month from active online visitors, while we see 21.8 visits per month from active mobile users, which means a lot more touch points with each member.”

Last year First Financial Credit Union ($55.2 million, Skokie, IL) averaged about 18,000 total electronic logins per month. Luis Reyes, CCUE, chief operations officer says this year's average, through the end of May is 22,083 per month. “Out of that number an average of 5,961 are through our mobile app. We’re seeing a pretty steady increase of at least a couple hundred logins per month so far this year.”

Credit Unions Take Mobile One Step Further

Although having the available technology appears to be enough to spur interest, some credit unions are creating a more user friendly environment through new apps and one-on-one educational opportunities. Mountain America Credit Union has created a new “technology champion” position at every branch to help members develop a higher comfort level with mobile and beyond.

“As we have asked members who do not currently use mobile or mobile functions such as mobile deposit why they don’t use the products, we are overwhelmingly told that they know we have them but just haven’t taken the time to download and figure them out,” Cummings explains. “Yet when a member is shown how incredibly easy and convenient it is to use mobile products and features, they immediately become repeat users. Our current growth rates have in large part been spurred by having employees in the branch who take the time to show our technology products to members as they come in to the branches, and how in the future they can self-serve.”

Cummings says that beyond growth of product usage, he believes that the credit union’s technology products are key to helping to reach its vision of helping members reach their financial dreams. “We are actively building solutions in our mobile applications to help members get an understanding of their overall financial situation, help them identify goals, and help them reach those goals, and take advantage of those recommendations from within the apps. The tech champs explain the value of these functionalities to the members and help them get started.”

Other credit unions like SDCCU added a Visa transfer app in order to make balance transfers easier for the member. “SDCCU is once again ahead of the industry with launching mobile technology,” Halleck says. “In early June 2013, the credit union launched our new SDCCU Easy Transfer app where current SDCCU Visa cardholders can easily transfer their high-rate credit card balances to their low-rate SDCCU Visa. This convenient app lets SDCCU members simply snap a picture of their credit card payment stub and the system automatically collects the required information to process their balance transfer. No longer do SDCCU members have to worry about filling out cumbersome balance transfer forms or worry about convenience checks in the mail to save money.”

First Financial offers a loan opportunity as part of its mobile app. “The Loan Request feature which essentially serves as a ‘lead’ with a signed authorization from the applicant for us to process an application manually,” Reyes explains. “We're working on turning that request into an actual application by integrating the information transmitted by the end user directly into our data processing system where the credit bureau is automatically pulled and an auto-approval can be given to qualified applicants within a minute or two.” Payment solutions is something else the credit union is exploring.

By Gina Ragusa
Published July 1, 2013
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