According to a report released by Javelin Strategy & Research towards the end of 2010, the best vehicle by which banks can avail new Personal Finance Management (PFM) solutions to customers is the Internet. What Javelin discovered is that an overwhelming amount of customers claimed to feel safer and more comfortable logging in and providing personal information on websites operated by financial institutions as opposed to third-party owned sites.
However, experts believe that more banks need to be quicker about getting on board with offering consumers viable PFM solutions.
“If banks don`t create regular daily PFM interactions with their customer base, then they can be pretty sure that customers are having these interactions someplace else,” says Mark Halverson, a partner at global management consulting firm Accenture, according to the online news source banktech.com. Consumers that opt to utilize personal finance software such as Mint or Quicken may not deem it necessary to connect with their financial institution to meet their PFM needs.
Mark Schwanhausser, who authored the November 2010 PFM report, is a senior financial services analyst at Javelin. He predicts that as time goes on, more and more people will find that their comfort level in using a web-based PFM has increased and any PFM offers bankes make at that point will have little impact. He believes that banks should act now before the gap that currently exists between them and web PFMs irrecoverably narrows.
By focusing on elements like customization, ease of use and the ability to completely integrate with online banking services, banks can extend a PFM opportunity to customers that will eliminate the need for them to look elsewhere.
Despite the unarguable array of benefits PFM solutions have the potential to bring both banks and bank customers together. There are still bank executives out there who hold fast to the belief that there are many good reasons not to pull the trigger on putting PFM tools in place at the moment.
“I don’t see PFM in a silo – it`s part of a complete online banking overhaul,” he explains. “That`s a tough sell in this business climate,” says Michael Germanovsky, editor-in-chief at Credit-Land.com.