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.
- ‘Consumer Reports’ Offers Tips For Doing Taxes Online
If you expect to have an adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less, the easiest thing to do is use the IRS website — it has a section called Free File. You can prepare and file your federal income taxes for free with one of 15 companies that have signed up with Free File. If you think you’re going to have an adjusted gross income that’s greater than that, you can use the search engine, type in “tax preparation,” and a number of names should come up. One that everybody might know is TurboTax.
- Big Bank Breakups and Tech Disruptions: Predicting the Future of Reform
Almost everyone in Washington finds some fault with Dodd-Frank. But rather than making smaller, incremental corrections in the short term, Congress could attempt a more comprehensive fix further down the road. To many, Dodd-Frank, which is meant to apply more regulatory pressure on the largest financial companies, tried correcting problems with Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which made it easier for multiline financial conglomerates to operate. Alternatively, the rush of technological change in financial services could serve as motivation to lawmakers to devise regulatory reforms that keep pace.
- Social Media Newbie Regions Bank Aces Facebook, Considers Vine
Looking further ahead, Liliana Grip, vice president of social media at Regions Bank has her eye on Vine, a Twitter-owned mobile service that lets users capture and share short looping videos. “We’re trying to figure out how to leverage Vine[…]One concern, and Twitter is addressing this, is there’s a lot of [content] that isn’t consistent with our brand. We need to get through some legal and compliance hurdles.”
- Consumer Appetite for Comprehensive, Mobile PFM Grows
Javelin estimates only 21 percent of U.S. consumers — or more than 49 million adults — mix and match current PFM features from software like Quicken, online banking, and various websites. However, many of those polled indicated that they wold like a way to view all their account balances in one place, with nearly half prioritizing this feature over all the other PFM services.
- What Will Retail Banking Look Like in 2020?
Opening a new bank branch used to be a matter of simply choosing a location and building out the structure according to a template design. But today, the definition of “bank branch” is being transformed by technology, competitive dynamics and economic pressures. As reported in Jones Lang LaSalle’s recently published Global Retail Banking 2020 study, up to 50 percent of branches in today’s U.S. bank networks may be declared obsolete — although not necessarily defunct — by 2020. Given that branches constitute 75 percent of a bank’s total retail distribution costs, according to research from Capgemini, implementing smart, technologically savvy retail strategies will be critical to driving shareholder value.
- Threat of the Week: DDoS Becoming an Expensive Fact of Life
The ceasefire is over. Last week, on Feb. 25, the Cyber Fighters of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam renewed their Distributed Denial of Service attacks against U.S. financial institutions. That included again taking down the websites of two credit unions: the $1.5 billion University FCU in Austin, Texas, and Patelco, the $3.8 billion Pleasanton, Calif., institution. They issued the same demand – removal of an anti-Islam video from YouTube – and said their campaign against financial institutions would continue. What is new is that the conversation about how to respond to the industrial-grade DDoS unleashed by the Cyber Fighters is beginning to shift.
- Consumers Want More Practical Online Tools, Portable Bank Account Numbers
According to a study conducted by BT and YouGov, 61% of banking customers in the U.S. favor portable banking account numbers. When asked which three tools they would most like their bank to provide, customers indicated that they would like to see more sophisticated, more practical online tools — all hosted on the financial institution’s main website. The features most desired by consumers include peer review sections (32%), live chat functionality (23%) and compare-my-bank style services (29%). When asked about which three factors would be the most appealing when considering moving banks, the results were fairly consistent across all countries. Good online banking facilities (39%), the presence of a local branch (45%) and the ability to access banking services 24/7 (29%) were ranked highest.
- Consumers remain resistant to digital banking aspirations
A YouGov poll of consumer attitudes to the introduction of portable bank account numbers has unearthed an underlying distrust of social and mobile technologies and a clear preference for human-to-human interaction via the branch, the call centre and the Web. The BT-commissioned poll of 6500 adults from six countries worldwide, found that the majority of consumers in Spain (76%), Hong Kong (70%), France (64%), Germany (61%) and the UK (62%) all agree that a portable identity number – allowing them to switch banks without changing account details – would be useful.
- Five High-Tech Trends Driving the Future of Banking
Here are some of the trends driving the future of banking. Customers will soon be gaining more mobile-banking payment and account options. “We’re going to see a lot more and different products, and a richer (banking) experience,” says Brett King, author of “Bank 3.0” and “Branch Today, Gone Tomorrow. Banks already are rolling out banking software for iPads and tablets and thinking of new ways to structure bank accounts “that are more purpose-built,” with more options for tracking money and ways to make payments, King says.