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Mobile Banking Soars; Usage in U.S. Increases 50 Percent Since 2011

Mobile banking has taken hold around the globe, presenting significant opportunities for banks to drive out costs and deepen customer relationships; this according to Bain & Company’s annual “Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking Report (2012 global edition),” released today by the global business consulting firm. The report finds that Asia has the highest mobile banking penetration—47 percent of survey respondents in South Korea said they had mobile interactions in the previous three months, the highest penetration in the survey—while survey respondents in the U.S. reported the highest frequency, averaging 4.9 mobile transactions in the previous three months. Mobile banking is having the biggest impact on routine banking activities: 64 percent of mobile banking users in the U.S. say that the future ability to use their smartphones or tablets to check account balances would be highly valued. Forty-one percent of mobile banking consumers say that using their smart device for remote deposit capture (through a digital image of an endorsed check) would be highly valued, and 26 percent say that paying bills through their mobile device in the future would be highly valued. (Editor’s Note: multiple responses were allowed to the survey question: What type of mobile/tablet interactions would be most valuable to you in the future?)

“Mobile banking presents profit-strapped banks with an opportunity to shift routine transactions from high-cost physical channels to much lower-cost digital channels,” said Gerard du Toit, Bain financial services partner and lead author of the report. “It also presents opportunities for banks to create more “wow” experiences that use new digital technologies to delight customers and deepen customer loyalty.”

Across all banking models, U.S. mobile users report greater loyalty. The loyalty shift is most pronounced with larger national banks, where loyalty scores actually move from negative to positive territory. National banks also tend to have developed more advanced mobile functionality than their community bank and credit union counterparts—further underscoring the upside potential presented to national banks by mobile banking technology. “In light of recent announcements by large national banks, the ability to reduce costs and lock in long-term loyalty is critical,” added du Toit. “And mobile technology can help achieve these important ends.” The report finds that both Citi and JPMorgan Chase improved their customer loyalty scores relative to other large banks since Bain’s 2011 customer loyalty in retail banking survey.

There is also a clear divide in loyalty among affluent customers by region. Customer loyalty scores are highest in Asia and developing markets. The bad news: Wealthier customers surveyed in the U.S. and European countries continue to give the lowest loyalty scores. U.S. national banks fare particularly poorly, with solidly negative scores among households with more than $1,000,000 in investable assets. The picture is quite different in Asia and other developing markets, where banks have developed differentiated modes of targeting and serving the affluent and have far more extensive wealth management operations than in the U.S.

“Wealthy customers generally insist on premium service and tailored, expert advice,” said Beth Johnson, head of Bain’s customer strategy and marketing practice in the Americas, and co-author of the report. “But the financial upside is clear if done right, with lifetime values of loyal affluent customers significantly higher than their underwhelmed peers.”

Editor’s Note: For a copy of Bain’s “Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking Report (2012 global edition)” or to schedule an interview with Gerard du Toit or Beth Johnson, media please contact Cheryl Krauss at email: [email protected] or +1 646-562-7863, or Frank Pinto at email: [email protected] or +1 917-309-1065.

About Bain & Company, Inc.

Bain & Company, a leading global business consulting firm, serves clients on issues of strategy, operations, technology, organization and mergers and acquisitions. The firm was founded in 1973 on the principle that Bain consultants must measure their success by their clients' financial results. Bain clients have outperformed the stock market 4 to 1. With 49 offices in 31 countries, Bain has worked with over 4,600 major multinational, private equity and other corporations across every economic sector. For more information visit: www.bain.com. Follow us on Twitter @BainAlerts.

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