25SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Ron Daly Ron Daly is the president and CEO of Virtual StrongBox, a secure, end-to-end member engagement platform that can be integrated into various workflow processes to provide high-risk Enterprise IT firms … Web: www.virtualstrongbox.com Details A recent Bank of America study showed people really love their cell phones – something that’s obvious to all of us. But did you know they rank cell phones as more important than a morning cup of coffee or favorite TV show? And many say their phones are just as important as their cars and deodorant.In the same survey, mobile banking received high marks, too. More than 60 percent of respondents reported using their cells to try out mobile banking programs, and nearly half prefer using mobile devices or going online to conduct their banking activities.It seems financial institutions that don’t offer mobile banking or enhance their online programs aren’t “feeling the love.”But hold on. The same survey also found that a large portion of Americans – 84 percent – had visited their credit union branch in the past six months. And nearly the same percentage of Millennials – the demographic most attached to their mobile devices – has visited one, too. While just 23 percent of respondents reported using branches as their primary way of banking, brick-and mortar locations continue to play an important role among most consumers, regardless of age or technology know-how.For financial institutions, that means finding the right balance between traditional branch strategies and newer, in-demand technologies.Balancing branch and mobile As the survey indicates, most consumers still count on branch access when conducting some financial business. For activities like securing a home loan or setting up an investment program, they often prefer face-to-face interactions. Branches offer in-person connections that online and mobile don’t – and they’ve been effective at building member relationships over the years. But as the trend shifts toward more mobile and online use, branches are becoming less of a force.To help determine the right direction for enhancing your mobile strategies, review your current digital footprint and consider these questions:How much do you rely on technology to interact with consumers now? Think about how many services your members can access through your mobile channels.How often do your members use technology? It’s important to know the current limits of your communications technology and how it affects consumers’ level of engagement.Is your current communications technology up to date? Technology is constantly evolving – just consider how quickly texting and social media messaging have gone mainstream, in many cases upstaging email. Know where your credit union stands from a communications technology perspective.By understanding your place on the digital spectrum, you can best develop an effective mobile strategy for your institution – one that works for you and those you serve.Making the connectionAs a financial institution, Americans’ love of “all things mobile” can work in your favor.Many credit unions make it a practice to ask users for their communication preferences, and then seek permission to send promotional offers and operational updates. As a result, more mobile users are receiving eStatements, account updates, balance alerts and loan-payment reminders in real time.In addition, more institutions are expanding their online banking programs to include mobile-friendly options like remote deposit, online safe deposit boxes, instant loan approvals, and email/text transaction receipts. And a growing number of tech-savvy institutions have taken mobile technology even further, creating apps that position them as trusted financial advisors. One large institution in Texas offers an app that lets users temporarily deactivate debit cards if they are lost and access their account balances or reward points without having to log in.All of these features share the same basic objective: to bring round-the-clock convenience and service sought by today’s consumers.Mobile is changing the standard for service and accessibility, forcing financial institutions to make key decisions about their digital communication channels. No matter where you fall on the digital spectrum, ignoring mobile’s influence is no longer an option. Today, it’s either share consumer’s love of mobile, or risk them breaking off the relationship.