SAN DIEGO – Credit unions are not alone in worrying they are falling behind in technology.

During the American Bankers Association’s annual meeting here, keeping up with accelerating change in technology was a common theme. Sessions on social media, mobile banking, and the next generation of payments were all well-attended by bankers, and a recurring joke among the presenters at those sessions was their slides were outdated as soon as they wrote them, according to reporters from American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal, who are on hand for the event this week.

Generating particular buzz were the expected revolution in digital payments and the impact remote check deposit is expected to have on the growth of mobile banking.

“I think the key takeaway for us as financial institutions is that mobile is not an alternative channel,” Louise Clynes, group vice president of digital money movement at SunTrust Banks (STI), told an audience. “It is in fact a primary channel today.”

Perhaps more important to bankers, Clynes said banks have strong bottom-line reasons to market their mobile banking systems. She pointed to data showing customers who use mobile banking are 32% more profitable than other customers – in part because they make more transactions, and mobile transactions are cheaper to process than some other payment methods.

During a session on payments, the focus was less on how banks must adapt to compete with each other and more on how their traditional lines of businesses are under increasing threat from outside the banking industry.

Josh Gilbert, a principal at First Annapolis Consulting, told bankers they should be making plans for how to facilitate peer-to-peer payments. At the same time, he acknowledged that the market is still relatively small – electronic peer-to-peer payments are estimated to be an $80 billion to $120 billion market – and said banks should not feel the need to roll out a product now, American Banker reported.

 

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