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Mobile Banking – The Future Is Here

March 23, 2012

By Michael Fina Vice President Union Affinity Manager, First Trade Union Bank
A decade ago, the way consumers conducted their personal banking was changed forever when online banking began to achieve critical mass. Today, the next major shift in consumer banking is now underway.

As consumers rely more and more heavily on their mobile devices for everything from checking email to finding directions, mobile banking is growing in popularity as a new way to conduct routine banking transactions.

Going Beyond Online Banking

Mobile banking takes the convenience of online banking a step further: While online banking can decrease the amount of trips needed to a physical bank branch, mobile banking eliminates the need to access a PC and allows clients the ability to conduct banking transactions on-the-go from virtually anywhere. Consumers can now perform a wide variety of routine banking transactions using a web-enabled smart phone or tablet, including checking their balances, making deposits, transferring funds and paying bills.

The growing adoption of mobile banking by consumers is attributed to several different factors: the increasing number of banks that are introducing mobile banking solutions, network upgrades by cellular carriers that enable faster data speeds, more technologically advanced (and user-friendly) smart phones and tablets, and greater consumer awareness of and confidence in mobile banking technology.

According to research published by Lookout Mobile Security, 54% of financial institutions in the U.S. now offer some form of mobile banking. About 10% of U.S. households (or 11.3 million) currently engage in mobile banking, and overall use of M-banking by consumers has increased by 63% since 2010, reports Javelin Strategy and Research.

Meanwhile, Jupiter Research projects that the number of mobile phone users worldwide who perform mobile banking functions will reach 400 million by 2013, double the number in 2010.

Uploading and Depositing Checks

One of the most popular new mobile banking features is the ability to take a picture of a check with a smart phone or tablet and then deposit the check by uploading the image to the bank via the bank’s mobile app. With mobile deposit, users simply sign in to the app, enter the deposit amount and upload a picture of the check – it’s that easy.

For union members who potentially work for multiple employers during the year, this new feature provides similar convenience to those who have their payroll directly deposited.  No more rushing to the bank on a Friday afternoon with mobile deposit!

First Trade has introduced just such a mobile banking app: FT Deposit, which allows clients to deposit checks from anywhere using their Apple® iPhone®, iPad®, iPod Touch®, BlackBerry® or Android™ devices.  FT Deposit adds a convenient, additional channel for making deposits into a First Trade account, and our clients across the country are beginning to take advantage of this service.

The bank will be introducing additional mobile banking apps throughout 2012, including a new app in July that will enable account views, deposits, funds transfers and bill pay. A mobile-friendly public website,, will follow shortly after. In November, an iPad tablet app is scheduled to be released, and with it the ability to make person to person payments (P2P) via a PC or mobile device.

In recognition of First Trade’s commitment to these mobile banking technologies, Bank Technology News recently ranked First Trade’s mobile banking #7 among the “Top 10 Small-Bank Projects” on the cover story of its current March 2012 edition.

In the coming months, I’ll be writing more about changes to the banking industry and how they impact unions and working families alike.  If you have questions or would like additional information, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Michael Fina, Vice President / Institutional Banking for First Trade Union Bank, works in the company’s New Hyde Park office and is responsible for generating new relationships with public and private sector unions throughout New York State.  Mr. Fina can be reached at 516-874-9601 or .  In the coming months, Mike will be providing commentary and insight into banking issues and how they impact union organizations.

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