As technology continues to evolve at the speed of light, mobile technology is an incredibly hot topic. Mobile even eclipses the ubiquitous and ethereal "cloud computing." When you hear "mobile technology" in the banking industry, your first thought is probably related to mobile banking services, such as providing account alerts, account balances, funds transfers, and transaction verification. The growth in these services in the United States has been steady, with 2011 reported to be over 35 million users. Forrester predicts that one in five adults in the U.S. will be using mobile banking in three years.

What will change is the functionality that will be employed on mobile devices. When we incorporate the change in business processes, mobile technology will have an impact on service delivery by allowing bankers, branch staff, and lenders (with appropriate interfaces) to significantly improve process efficiency and effectiveness. The rapid growth of this technology is driving additional innovation. Having the ability to travel to multiple sites with such devices to meet with customers will allow loan sales, loan origination, and loan document capture to occur at the point of customer contact. Specifically, having such computing power in the field provides a significant competitive advantage and improves cycle time as  follows:

  • Information needed to accompany an application can be obtained and captured on the spot and submitted along with the application, making paper processes requiring later data capture in the back office unnecessary;
  • Clients will be provided with quick loan decisions through automated underwriting capability in the field;
  • For manual underwriting, the underwriter receives information more quickly and completely, resulting in immediate decisions; and
  • Minimize unnecessary communication and non-value-added touches between clients, branch staff, and underwriting.

Mobile computing will take on additional forms in the next few years beyond the current client self-service view. The real value-add will be to provide functionality to maximize convenience for clients and banking personnel alike. It will be the next tool to improve process efficiency, effectiveness, cost, cycle time, and the overall customer experience. ▪