October 07, 2011

First Tennessee Bank, a $25 billion institution based in Memphis, Tenn., introduced mobile banking to its retail customers last year. After having success with that rollout, execs decided to also give mobile banking to the institution's corporate customers. The bank went with the Sybase 365 Corporate Mobile Banking Solution and introduced it to customers last June.

First Tennessee wasn't seeing a huge demand from its business customers for mobile banking, but the bank decided to offer it anyway to stay ahead of the curve, according to Taylor Vaughan, director of treasury management services for the bank. "We're definitely looking at this as a go-forward strategy," he explains. "What we're really trying to do is make sure that it's convenient for our customers to do business with us -- that was our primary motivation," he explains.

The Sybase 365 Corporate Mobile Banking Solution allows business owners and CFOs to approve transfers, check balances and handle other cash flow operations from anywhere using any mobile device. Vaughan says that he sees the solution as being especially helpful to small business owners who can't always be at their shops -- a big part of First Tennessee's customer base.

Although the bank already had the Sybase Financial Fusion e-Banking (FFI) solution in place for online banking, his team didn't discount other vendor options. (The bank actually uses a different vendor, mFoundry, for its retail banking solution). "We had presentations from other vendors, but [Sybase] won out because it did plug so seamlessly into our infrastructure," says Vaughan.

The entire decision-making process, installation and rollout only took eight or nine months. As for the installation, says Vaughan, "It's more about what we didn't have to do instead of what we did have to do to get this thing implemented. If we went with a different vendor I would've had to build all of the interfaces that connect us to our positive pay system that would connect us to our balances, transactions, image archives, lock box totals, disbursement totals, etc., for a mobile banking application."

Instead of going with a traditional mobile application, First Tennessee opted to go with a browser that looks like an app for its mobile solution. Sybase's browser solution allows banks to put a mobile solution on all major devices without having to develop different apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, etc., and having to go through the different approval processes for the app stores. The product has as an automatic device detection rendering IP that will pull the right browser template based on the device's capabilities.