What We’re Reading

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.

  • Mortgage Lenders Need a Social (Media) Life

American Banker

The mortgage banking industry is at an inflection point. This trend has given rise to the new discipline of customer relationship management called Social CRM, or SCRM — the use of social networking to engage in a conversation with the customer to provide a mutually beneficial business relationship. Social CRM can provide originators and servicers with much-needed market intelligence, leads and insights that can help increase market share and customer satisfaction and improve processes and services. With an integrated and comprehensive Social CRM approach, mortgage banks can use social media to improve consumer perception and quality of service.

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  • At Nacha Show, Wal-Mart Demands a Place at the Table for Nonbanks

American Banker

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is agitating for nonbanks to have more say in how the automated clearing house network is run. Executives of Wal-Mart, which has had its share of run-ins with the payments industry, said here at Nacha’s annual conference that banks have dragged their feet on potential rule changes that could benefit retailers and other nonbank companies. Jason Marshall, the Bentonville, Ark., retailer’s senior director of payment services, suggested that companies like Wal-Mart should be given voting power over ACH rules that are set by Nacha, the electronic payments association. “Nonbanks should have the opportunity to be direct members, to have votes on operating rules and to be eligible for [Nacha] board membership,” Marshall said in an interview.

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  • Vendor Exit? Scramble Is On

Credit Union Journal

At least one credit union said it is scrambling to ensure mobile banking applications keep running – and a CUSO that supports many CUs stopped testing its applications – after apparently being told that their provider, Firethorn Holdings, LLC, will shut down Sept. 30. Firethorn’s parent company, however, denied any such shutdown is planned. “It’s a big deal,” said Howie Wu, VP-virtual banking at $9.2-billion BECU. “We’re crossing fingers that there’s no disruption to the Firethorn applications before we deploy our replacement. A group of us is pushing for an extension until the end of the year, and I’m fairly confident Firethorn will agree.”

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  • Meet Your New Senior Executive – The Head of Channels

Gonzo Banker

Banks need to assign accountability and responsibility for channels to a senior level manager. That manager needs to have a seat at the table with retail, commercial and wealth management. This person will have some component of the sales and service goals of the bank. Ultimately, he/she may have P&L responsibility. Banks will not be successful with channel strategies if they are managed a bit here and a bit there by many people.

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  • After Epsilon: Avoiding Phishing Scams & Malware

Krebs on Security

Many people are familiar with the traditional phishing attack, which arrives in an email that appears to have been sent from your bank or ISP, warning that your account will be suspended unless you take some action immediately, usually clicking a link and “verifying” your account information, user name, password, etc. at a fake site. Commercial emails that emphasize urgency should be always considered extremely suspect, and under no circumstances should you do anything suggested in the email. Phishers count on spooking people into acting rashly because they know their scam sites have a finite lifetime; they may be shuttered at any moment (most phishing scams are hosted on hacked, legitimate Web sites). If you’re really concerned, pick up the phone and call the company to find out if there really is anything for you to be concerned about.

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  • Watching the Mobile Payments Battle Unfold


The Alternative Payments Systems Innovations (APSI) conference held in San Francisco last week may want to change its name to Mobile Payments Systems Innovation. It seems that all things mobile has totally eclipsed any interest in non-mobile untraditional payments. The key issue is control of the consumer. This is not a new issue, of course. Richard Crone’s (President of Crone Consulting, LLC) timeless mantra, “The one who enrolls (is the one who) controls” is as true with m-payments as it was with e-payments and bill payments before that. However, no longer is this control of the consumer limited to a tug-of-war between the banks and the merchants.

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  • INTERVIEW-Citi looks askance at mobile wallet frenzy


People expecting U.S. mobile wallets to become widely available have one more skeptic to contend with: Jud Linville, the Citigroup executive responsible for helping to make cellphone payments a reality. U.S. shoppers eagerly await the day when they can wave cellphones at the check-out counter to pay for everything from groceries and gasoline to designer gowns. Mobile wallets are far from commonplace in the United States, although many U.S. companies are trying to develop them. Google Inc , Citigroup Inc and MasterCard Inc are the latest to team up, according to a report this week in the Wall Street Journal.

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Written by Banking.com Staff