Mobile banking picks up speed in California Wine Country

US consumers are using mobile digital apps more than any other method to connect with their banks, based on a nationwide online survey.

And North Bay financial institutions are taking advantage of this technology to reach customers who increasingly don’t physically visit their branches.

“The ABA survey shows that consumers overwhelmingly value digital tools that make banking easier. It also shows that Americans recognize how the (banking) sector’s investments in technology are helping to bring millions more bankless households into the banking system, an acknowledgment of the role technology is playing in promoting financial inclusion,” he said Rob Nichols, American Banking Association president and chief executive officer.

Survey results show that mobile banking remains the most popular banking access channel for consumers with nearly half (45%) of respondents, followed by online banking (27%) and branch visits (14%).

Nichols said 95% of respondents this year rated their bank’s online and mobile app experience as excellent (47%), very good (38%) or good (14%) and 84% he said improvements in technology are making it easier to access financial services. The survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Sept association. 16-17 from a sample of 2,211 adults.

While the electronic digitization of financial transactions has been underway since the mid-1980s, the adoption of mobile “Neo” banking has exploded during the pandemic, resulting in a sharp increase in digital access since 2019 and accelerating as bank customers they sheltered in place and stayed away from indoor public gatherings, including their workplace.

Mobile banking apps are becoming multigenerational and universally used. Google found that 5 out of 10 mobile users prefer to use them on mobile websites and other platforms to manage their accounts, and around 90% of users use mobile banking apps to view account balances.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s biennial survey found that about 43.5% of households say cell phones are the primary method they use to access their accounts, compared with 22% who chose online banking. The FDIC based its findings on Census Bureau data collected from 30,000 U.S. households in June 2021.

Perspectives of local banks and credit unions

North Bay financial institutions have benefited from digital conversions of mobile apps that offer the ability to take a photo of a check and deposit it digitally into a bank account using a smartphone, while also enabling consumers to access other financial services around the clock. day or night.

“Exchange Bank has seen a 17.5% increase in mobile logins since January 2020 and a 38.9% increase in check deposits on mobile apps,” according to Tony De Mattei, product manager, digital channels.

According to De Mattei, Exchange Bank last year consolidated its Bennett Valley branch with the Reinking branch in the Santa Rosa Montgomery Village mall. Also in 2021, it reopened an ATM across the street from its former location on Yulupa Avenue in the Bennett Valley community east of Santa Rosa and consolidated branches on College Avenue and Coddingtown on the city’s west side, but kept Coddingtown ATM opened.

The bank opened a new branch in Sebastopol in 2020 for Western Sonoma County customers.

Tony Hildesheim, chief operating officer of Redwood Credit Union, which has 19 branches in the North Bay and San Francisco, said the Santa Rosa-based institution was focused on online convenience and security.

“Like many others, we have seen a sharp increase in the use of digital services due to COVID-19,” Hildesheim said. “We have always taken a holistic view of our members and have worked hard to offer as many convenient and secure digital banking options as possible.”

Approximately 85% of RCU members use digital banking channels, with an average of 4 million logins per month. Of that total, 63% use mobile apps as their primary form of account access, with an upward trend; 22%, a combination of mobile app and website-based access, remaining constant; and 15% web only, continuously decreasing.

Hildesheim said that for five years, the use of mobile apps has overtaken the website as the preferred method for accessing accounts and conducting business. Members typically use the app every other day to deposit checks, review balances, send money or manage their payment cards, she said.

During the height of the pandemic, all credit union locations remained open.

“Our goal in times of crisis is to stay open and serve our members, making sure they have access to their accounts and the services they need,” Hildesheim said. “We also took the opportunity to introduce members who have visited our branches to the benefits of saving travel and the convenience of conducting transactions from the safety of their own homes.”

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