Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.
- Banks at Risk as CFPB Probes Overdraft Practices
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement Wednesday that it was targeting overdraft protection practices was a stark reminder for bankers that even if they have already made significant changes, it is likely not enough. While the agency had been expected to delve into the area, observers said the industry remains vulnerable despite legal settlements and new regulations. “The message to the industry is to understand that just because something is a common practice that is not barred by a specific regulation does not mean it’s safe,” said Jo Ann Barefoot, a co-chairman at Treliant Risk Advisors.
- P2P Payments Come To The UK
There were two interesting announcements this week heralding the dawn of the bank account-based P2P payment era in the UK. The first announcement came from Barclays about the launch of a Pingit service, which allows consumers to send and receive money using mobile phone numbers. Five days later, the UK Payments Council announced that it has commissioned VocaLink to build a central database that will allow bank customers to link their mobile phone number to their account for person-to-person mobile payments. Until now, if you wanted to make a payment to another person in the UK, you typically would have to give them cash, write a cheque or make a bank transfer using their bank account details.
- Banking on the Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0
The growing adoption of iPads by financial services companies has unnerved RIM, the makers of Blackberry smartphones and traditionally the sector’s choice for mobile communications devices. For RIM to dominate the tablets market much the same way it has the smartphone space, and after a disappointing 2011 launch of the first Blackberry Playbook, the next operating system for the tablet needed to be good. Following the release of the Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0 today, credit must go to RIM, as this new offering is more than good and a worthy contender to the iPad within financial institutions. RIM’s model for mobile application development is by far the most understated. Supporting a wide array of languages and run-times, coupled with exceptional developer support, makes the Playbook the smart choice for developing internal banking software.
- How to Get More Women Hired for Technical Roles
Women are just as likely as men to get a high-tech job if they are in the pool of candidates being considered, the report finds. The report recommends that companies include at least one viable female candidate for every position it tries to fill. It’s a similar approach to the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which mandates that every team looking to fill a head coaching position consider at least one candidate from a racial minority before filling the spot, the report notes. The report, “Solutions to Recruit Technical Women,” draws on academic research and internal data from technology companies including International Business Machines, Intel and Cisco.
- Can Scott Cook Revive Corporate America?
You may not have heard of Scott Cook, but you probably know TurboTax and Quicken. Cook is the founder and executive chairman of Intuit (INTU), whose mission is to change peoples’ financial lives so profoundly that they can’t imagine going back to the old way. In a February 25th telephone interview, Cook, who joined Bain & Co. after earning his Harvard MBA, described his passion for assuring that Intuit is capable of both strengthening its core business and creating innovative new ones. His key finding is that big companies must create a culture of frugal experimentation. This is a problem that Cook has been studying for at least four years.
- Best Personal Finance Mobile Apps
Carry a personal finance advisor with you at all times with one of these free smartphone apps. As any financial advisor will tell you, the first step to growing your money is knowing how much you have to begin with. The best personal finance apps for your iPhone or Android phone can tell you that, anytime and anywhere you’re holding your smartphone. Personal finance apps extract real-time data from all your financial service providers, including banks, investment houses, PayPal, lenders, and loyalty rewards programs, to paint the most accurate portrait of your finances on the fly. This is a far cry from the pre-PC days when tracking your expenses involved saving receipts, writing down transactions, opening paper bills, and going to the bank every now and then.
- Be savvy about mobile banking safety
As consumers become more comfortable with mobile payment technology, they also need to become more concerned about the security of their transactions. “Security of your transactions is one of the biggest issues, especially with mobile payments,” said Jerry O’Flanagan, chief credit officer for First National Bank of Omaha. In part, that’s because consumer protections on many smartphone transactions are different than those that apply to traditional credit-card usage or online banking. Consumers should know whether their mobile transactions use their debit or credit cards: Credit card fraud carries a limit of $50 in liability for the card holder, while liability for fraudulent transactions on a debit card are limited to $50 if reported within 48 hours, and up to $500 if reported after 48 hours and before two months.
- America’s ‘Unbanked’ Masses
Fewer Americans have access to traditional banking services such as checking accounts, consumer loans and credit cards than they did five years ago. Part of this has to do with the housing bust severely damaging the finances of U.S. households. But millions more have lost access to credit or essential banking services due to regulatory reforms imposed over the past four years. Excluding millions of Americans from traditional banking services is not an efficient means of commerce and will result in long-term negative consequences for our economy.
- Bank tellers moving beyond processing transactions
Customers at Burke & Herbert Bank can transfer funds and pay bills online, but a number prefer the greeting of a friendly teller over a log-in prompt. “I see about 75 customers a day, mainly for deposits and mortgage payments,” said Ronaldo Guerrara, a 23-year-old teller at the bank’s branch in Old Town Alexandria. “There are still some things people don’t feel comfortable doing online or through an ATM.” “There continues to be demand for in-person and automated banking,” said Terry Cole, director of products, marketing and sales at Burke & Herbert.