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Social And Mobile: Wherever You Go, There They Are

Banks are buzzing with mobile and social media, but the potential these areas have to change the business remains to be seen.

Social media and mobile.

No matter where you go, those topics are there (and not just in the sense that you keep them in your pocket).

But in hearing bankers and vendors talk about mobile and social, one gets the sense that everyone's still trying to figure it all out.

Either way, there's a distinct feeling the topics won't be going away soon.

"Smartphones -- BlackBerry, iPhone, Android -- are changing the way banks do business," Brian Burke, SVP at RBS First Citizens Bank told the collected audience during a Tuesday afternoon keynote at TowerGroup's Financial Services Strategy & Technology Conference in Boston. Burke discussed the successful launch of of RBS Citizens' new corporate mobile banking app, which was built in partnership with SAP/Sybase.

So there's excitement -- or at the very least, discussion -- about all the untapped potential within mobile and social media, and the progress made by deploying the right application or strategy for the right audience.

In terms of what all that potential can be turned into, there doesn't seem to be a clear answer. Banks are generally still figuring it out.

Here are a few more items of interest discussed by TowerGroup during the keynote:

  • More than 80 percent of customers are using social media
  • And 47 percent of customers are using social media to tell others what they've learned and experiences they've had with financial services products
  • P2P mobile payments are big. . . just not yet in the U.S. More than 40 African countries now have institutions that enable these transactions, bringing a form of banking to the underbanked
  • "Social media will affect buying decisions," says Dominic Trotta, global head of financial services, SAP, adding that it will ultimately affect the financial services industry.

    Basically, people are out there talking and sharing experiences. The threat is that enough people saying enough negative things is eventually going to chip away at business. For brands, social media is a reputation game more than it's a sales game. A tweet from a company won't necessarily sell a product so much as a tweet from an influential customer might dissuade others from buying it.

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