FRAMINGHAM, Mass.-In the rush to offer mobile banking, financial institutions may be leaving standard online banking services in the dust.

Mobile banking use is growing like gangbusters, and that's where most banks are deploying their resources today, but that doesn't make online banking a relic of the digital world. There's plenty more to be gleaned from it. At the same time, banks may not know all of the different products and services their online banking providers offer, and they may not be using them to full effect, according to a recent report from IDC Financial Services.

Survey Of Top Vendors

The report surveyed 11 offerings from top online banking vendors including Fiserv, Fidelity National Information Services, Jack Henry & Associates, and Harland Financial Solutions. "The financial services industry has been so enamored with everything mobile, partially at the expense of the online channel," Marc DeCastro, a research director at IDC Financial Insights and the author of the report, told American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal.

Instead, FIs need to think about combining mobile, tablet, and online banking into a coherent digital strategy, DeCastro said.

About 43% of U.S. adults currently use mobile banking, according to IDC, up from 7% in 2009. Use of online banking on average hovers around 50%, but it took consumers decades to get there, experts say.

Gulf Coast Educators Credit Union, of Pasadena, Texas, has $440 million in assets and about 34,000 members, 16,000 of whom use online banking. It began offering mobile banking about six months ago, and already 4,000 members are using it.

Among its new online services is online account origination and funding. It would like to provide person-to-person and account-to-account payments, which its vendor Harland Financial Solutions offers. The question is paying for the services and integrating them. More to the point, though, is figuring out how to get customers to use products the credit union already offers, like text alerts.

There are structural problems with online banking, as well. The way online banking is presented to consumers has not changed in close to a decade, experts say. "Online banking has been saddled with the same interface for years, and it's stale," says Mark Schwanhausser, a senior analyst at Javelin Strategy and Research. Despite all that, however, traditional online banking offers a better opportunity for real dialogue with customers than does mobile, and that can be extremely valuable.

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