AFP Conference Recap: Trends in Mobile Corporate Banking

by Michael Misasi 0

Two weeks ago, the Association for FinancialProfessionals held their annual conference in Miami, FL. Attending,I joined thousands of commercial bankers, corporate treasuryexecutives, vendors, and industry analysts. Going into theconference, I had a few themes in mind I wanted to investigate. Oneof them was the use of mobile devices for corporate banking andcash management.

Naturally, the session titled “Mobile Payments for Corporations:Should You Care” jumped out at me. What I discovered wassurprising. “How many of you regularly use mobile devices for cashmanagement?” the panel moderator asked. Only a few members of theaudience raised their hands. “And how many of you work forcorporations that allow employees to use mobile devices for cashmanagement?” the moderated continued. Only one or two additionalhands were raised.

In the 200-to-300 seat room, almost completely full withpractitioners and vendors, only a handful of people worked forcompanies that allowed any of their treasury employees to usemobile devices for cash management.

What I heard from the panel, the audience, and from exhibitingvendors, was that corporations are very wary of the security ofmobile corporate banking applications. The few companies that dopermit some use of these apps tend to restrict access to one or twosenior executives. Maybe only the CFO has access.
The vendors I spoke with were definitely aware of this concern. Acommon priority among vendors is to assure corporations that mobilebanking sessions are just as secure as, or even more secure thanonline banking.

The functionality of vendors’ applications also revealed theirappreciation for end users’ security concerns. Even whencorporations utilize mobile banking apps, they want users to have avery limited range of functionality. Approving wire transfers seemsto be the most popular function by far. Enabling data entry is outof the question.

In the exhibit hall, I was able see demos of a couple corporatebanking applications on a range of devices. The value is definitelycompelling, especially on the tablet’s large screen size. What’sgoing to drive adoption? As with consumer mobile banking it willlikely be a combination of security enhancements, development offraud detection solutions, and time.