One of the most topical issues among both members of the banking sector and analysts is the prospect of remote banking growth. To keep up with the latest market trends and to be able to provide customers with the most up-to-date solutions, Alexander Videnev, Auriga’s Business Development Director, took part in a number of specialized events. These included the third international ‘Remote Banking 2012’ forum and a panel discussion ‘SME Crediting: from Single Operation to a Conveyor Line’ organized by CNews Conferences, Marketing Communications Agency.
It is evident that remote banking in Russia is developing rapidly and has become an integral part of bank-customer communication. However, the remote banking solutions offered by banks today are not yet eagerly sought by their customers, and at the same time, the share of customers using remote banking services in Russia is still lower than that in western countries. On average, around 40-50% of all Internet users in Europe, the USA, and Australia take advantage of Internet banking. In Russia, only 6-12% (based on various estimates) of online users make use of Internet banking, and even fewer users opt for mobile banking.
Nevertheless, banking sector representatives are predicting the perceived benefits of remote banking in Russia: experts forecast a surge in the growth of the demand for remote banking services in the coming years. Ultimately, integrated, multifunctional, and reliable remote banking systems that promote the availability of banking services and the simplicity of their use will attract the most interest from banks and their customers.
What should we get as the result from the standpoint of end users? Every actively involved banking customer wants to have complete access to his/her accounts including the option of accessing a wide range of banking operations, from account information displays and payment systems to loan applications. However, customers want to complete their transactions at a time and place suitable for them. Various remote banking systems—mobile banking, in particular—are revolutionizing the banking services sector in terms of comfort, mobility, and flexibility.
Why do experts think that mobile banking is a safe bet?
Analysts forecast that mobile service penetration with reach nine billion users by 2017, while the number of actual users will amount to five billion people, 85% of which will be able to use high-speed 3G mobile Internet.
The logical consequence will be the increase in the number of smartphones users. According to the estimates made by Ericsson experts, the number of smartphone owners will increase from 700 million to three billion by 2017. And while at the moment, the smartphone user base in Russia accounts for less than 50 million people, the situation will change dramatically in the coming years, because based on the data provided by retailers, every third phone sold in Russia these days is a smartphone. Cell phone service providers confirm that by the end of 2013, 70%-80% of cell phones will be replaced by smartphones.
In summary, currently, the positive environment allows business development adjustments with a focus on remote services for customers. But it is important to note that customers are not merely individuals but also SMEs that have not yet been covered by remote banking services. The SME share of production volume in Russia’s GDP grows year-by-year, approximating one third of GDP. Putting two and two together, we can now talk about a warmed-up market that can be penetrated with new and interesting solutions.
Traditional ideas that mobile applications, unlike Internet-banking, are created for the comfort of individual customers only hamper the dynamic development of such applications. However, a new, interesting solution with functionalities for corporate accounts and adequate data-security levels could significantly change the market balance and lead to a boom similar to the Internet-boom of the 2000s.
Auriga actively developed its own mobile banking application for SMEs. This application will allow SMEs to carry out their transactions quickly and effectively on the majority of existing mobile platforms anytime and anywhere in the world.
It will considerably simplify clearing and settlement transactions, payment-order creation, currency purchases, and cash-inflow monitoring for bank customers. Thanks to these functionalities along with the adherence to stringent security standards and positive reactions from a number of banks that already took interest in the solution, we can now confidently say that this is a timely product that will be in demand on the remote banking services market, and in the mid-run, it will obtain a wide circulation.