Fintech leaders discuss: What makes a great mobile banking strategy?

Narmi and AgentIQ at Bank Director’s FinXTech Xchange April 2022: Mobile Banking Strategy
Apr 27, 2022
Laura Caseley
Content Writer

Mobile banking is what people want, but are banks giving it to them in a way they trust, understand, and (most importantly) love using? That was the topic of Bank Director’s April 2022 FinXTech Xchange, a monthly webinar where banking professionals come together to discuss the future of banking and answer questions from community bank leaders across the country. This month, Narmi General Manager Kaitlin Russenberger and AgentIQ CRO Soren Bested connected with Bank Director’s Lexie Grindstaff to talk about how banks and credit unions can harness the boundless opportunities of mobile banking – while avoiding the pitfalls that lead to abandonment.

A real-time poll of the webinar’s attendees, many of them leaders of small and mid-sized financial institutions, showed that 72% of bankers believe their users prefer digital interaction, and that between 60% and 85% of their customers rely on digital as their primary form of interaction with their banks. Needless to say, this indicates that mobile banking is a must-have for financial institutions of all sizes.

But there’s another statistic to be aware of: host Lexie Grindstaff stated that user polls have shown that a third of customers are less than thrilled by those digital experiences – especially when it comes to opening new accounts. Account opening is crucial for growth, but if people can’t do it from the convenience of their device that growth will stall. Similarly, there’s a wealth of services digital banking can provide outside of account management, but so many platforms simply don’t take advantage of these opportunities.

Kaitlin and Soren discussed these issues as well as all the potential solutions that financial institutions can harness for excellent customer experiences and drastically improved growth.

Seeing a brilliant account opening experience as an investment – not an expense

In this conversation, Kaitlin Russenberger points out that a frustrating or confusing digital experience leads to abandonment rather than successful account opening. “Having that really great experience from the onset can really improve digital application completion rates and ultimately how many people banks can convert to customers,” she says.

Pointing to Narmi’s recent redesign of dashboards and account pages – which provide customers with a significantly more seamless and intuitive approach – Kaitlin shares that,“​​it really comes down to speed and simplicity. The longer a process takes, the more likely the consumer will have a poor experience. Focusing on speed and simplicity is one of the keys to delighting customers.” She also mentions the way Narmi’s open API creates that seamless, stress-free experience for institutions and their customers by taking into consideration time frames and pain points.

While it might seem like a big spend, Kaitlin maintains that creating a seamless account opening process is actually the wisest investment a bank can make but that many institutions don’t yet have that mindset. 

“They get that perspective because sometimes they spend a lot on marketing efforts, like billboards or advertising in sporting arenas. But that spend really isn't going to be efficient if potential customers go to their website to try to open an account and it's a long, clunky experience,” she explains. Partnering with the right digital vendor can make all the difference, such as how Narmi’s customers see account opening completion jump from the industry average of 30% to 80%.

Personalized, expert support from humans and from tech 

Because of their smaller size, community banks and credit unions are uniquely poised to provide truly personalized support and advice to their customers via digital.

“We’re seeing that while customers want to be digital every day, they also expect guidance,” Soren Bested notes, “78% of customers said they expect advice from their primary financial institution, so we need to capitalize on the fact that we’ve earned the trust of our customers.”

He also points out the need to balance the convenience of digital with the human touch. AgentIQ looked to messaging apps like Slack and WhatsApp for inspiration. They also leverage AI to analyze conversations, which helps identify trends and popular subjects and provide bankers with supplemental information that can help customers. “We need to ensure we blend the transactional with the interactive and the emotional, because nothing is more important to us than our financial lives,” he explains. “Very often it's about just having somebody you recognize and accept as an expert assure you so you know you’re doing the right thing or provide you with a better option.”

Serious fraud protection without impeding the experience

With online fraud constantly evolving, security is more important than ever. Kaitlin outlines some of the ways that Narmi offers banks and credit unions ways to prevent fraudulent activity and protect their people, like customizable risk rules so people can fully control the checks on their accounts. “We're continually assessing our platforms and how we can continue to evolve and adapt and try to stay one step ahead,” she says. “We have robust KYC procedures to make sure that the person opening the account is who they say they are, while ensuring there's not a ton of friction. We're able to have this robust process without asking out-of-wallet questions or requiring a driver's license.”

Echoing the need for security, Soren points out that on the very rare instance a fraudulent transaction occurs, it’s imperative for banks to assess how they respond to the breaches and support their customers in their hour of need: “There is always a risk of fraud, but what ultimately defines how a customer sees us is not that we are able to prevent 100% of fraud, but how we respond to the 0.001% of times fraud actually occurs.”

Intuitive access to more products and services

Most people use digital banking for everyday account management – but they could do so much more. Based on a case study of 5,000 customers at First National Bank of Omaha, Soren found that nearly 65% of customer conversations were about services not always immediately or intuitively accessible via mobile. 

“When we analyzed the customer’s questions, they were about products and services the customers didn’t have yet,” he says, “including credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and wealth management.”

Allowing your customers to see the possibilities right from their phones can lead to greater engagement and account growth, and will also ensure that customers turn to their current bank or credit union for all kinds of financial services.


Watch the full conversation to see Kaitlin and Soren fully break down all the ways financial institutions can leverage mobile banking and answer questions from banking leaders to provide their customers and members with the safe, easy, and stress-free experiences they want, right on their phones.

Narmi Inc.
P.O. Box 231517
New York, NY 10023

Fintech leaders discuss: What makes a great mobile banking strategy?