November 08, 2010

Citizens Bank, Providence, R.I., has become one of the first banks to offer mobile banking to business customers (Union Bank and Wells Fargo are two others). The bank has partnered with Sybase 365 to create an accessMobile application for corporations.

accessMobile lets Citizens Bank's corporate and business banking customers monitor accounts remotely, receive bank alerts, approve and release wire transfers, and obtain account balance snapshots from their mobile devices.

"This landmark application will change the way our customers can do business," said Ellen Alemany, chairman and CEO of Citizens and RBS Americas, in a statement. "In fact, accessMobile is the first mobile banking application available to business customers in the 12 states of Citizens' retail footprint. Managing cash and payments is crucial to a company's survival and profitability. accessMobile gives companies large and small greater ease and freedom in making and managing payments. It is user-friendly, secure and, for businesses in our footprint, a first."

"We listened to our customers, who told us they want cash management to be easier, more flexible and more accessible," said Prabhat Vira, Head of Citizens' Global Transaction Services Americas. "Now, with accessMobile, we are bringing to bear the power of mobile technology for the benefit of our business customers."

The iPhone application of accessMobile is available now. It will be made available in the future on Blackberrys and Droids. It is free to Citizens' commercial and business banking customers.

Through accessMobile's interface, Citizens' customers can approve pending transactions, view account history and transaction details, get current-day snapshots and perform intra-company funds transfers and receive alerts and bank mail from their mobile devices.

Conventional wisdom in the past has suggested that business customers aren't that interested in mobile banking because they're at their computers all day anyway (and therefore can simply use online banking). But Citizens' business customers who participated in the pilot phase of accessMobile have provided glowing feedback, such as, "With this banking application, I can log in at any time from any location in the world and make instant approval and release decisions. I no longer have to assign that responsibility to someone else." Another customer said, "accessMobile provides me with SMS messaging, so that I receive an alert when a wire transaction is ready to be approved and released. I log in to accessMobile and release the wire from where I am in seconds. With accessMobile I'm no longer tied to my desk."

accessMobile is the first in a series of "access"-branded offerings Citizens is developing specifically for the ease-of-use, flexibility and accessibility of banking functions for businesses.