"It's built on top of 15 years of online experience," he added. "There was a learning curve in online, and the mobile channel benefits in that we all started with that learning curve already."
Pearce also said he is "really excited about text banking" and predicted it wouldn't fade away as mobile becomes a bigger channel. In fact, Pearce said he believes text will play a vital role in consumer banking in the future, serving functions like giving customers interactive alerts about balances.
The topic of disruptors in the financial services space also incited a lively conversation. Citi's Global Chief Technology Officer Yobie Benjamin essentially told the audience "you ain't seen nothing yet"in this regard.
"The internet is very, very young, we have not seen the power of the internet yet," he said. The disruptors that have emerged already, he said, are just the beginning. In fact, Alexander predicted that over the next five years, all of commerce will be disrupted as mobile becomes king.
"There will be a proliferation of mobile wallets, and a consumer shift from 'e' to 'm' commerce," he said. That trend will include most major transit systems installing devices to accept mobile payments, a marketing shift to highly targeted mobile offers and that "all major merchants" will be able to accept mobile payments at the point of sale and on the web. Benjamin also made the somewhat shocking comment that, "We believe in five years, more people will have access to mobile phones than clean water."
In the face of this predicted change, banks, he said, risk disintermediation if they do not leverage their vast assets and address the core needs of new business models.
The firm also handed out its annual "Model Bank" awards, intended to honor financial institutions that used technology in exceptional ways in a variety of categories. The full list of winners can be found here.