"We made it so any online banking customer automatically has access to this system," says Vaughan. "There's no registration process required because it's just another device accessing the online banking system; our customers get access through their mobile devices to all of the same things that they can get online." He adds, "We put this thing on a virtual server, so we didn't have to buy any hardware. We just created that one interface to our online banking system."
Andrew Mikesell, Director of mCommerce Product Management at Sybase, says that he's seeing a lot of banks going the mobile browser route for its convenience and because it allows them to have more control. "The banks have said, 'If we do mobile banking with a mobile browser then we control it. It sits within our data center or with our provider, we have the domain, the URL, we own that,'" he explains.
The mobile browser solution also makes the security aspect of a mobile solution much easier for a bank. "The browser-based approach leverages all of the existing security standards and protocols already in place at most banks for their online channel. It's just an online channel that's on the phone," explains Mikesell. "The app is a little different because it's an actual application on the phone, and banks are still struggling with what they need to do from a security standpoint with that model."
So far, First Tennessee has had favorable feedback from customers. "They say it's very intuitive and very easy to use," says Vaughan. "We were pleasantly surprised that when customers looked at it, they said, 'Oh, I thought this was a browser. It looks like an iPhone app.' It really is a browser, but we designed it to look just like an app. And it operates just like an app."
Despite the positive initial response, though, Vaughan says the bank isn't expecting to see an immediate ROI or heavy adoption from its corporate client base with its mobile banking solution right off the bat. "Being in the 5- to 10-percent adoption range over the next year or two is about what we would expect," he says. "As folks learn more about it we'll see more adoption."