FDIC Report Outlines Mobile Strategies for Banking the Underserved

As part of its broader effort to identify ways mobile banking can help meet the needs of the unbanked and underbanked, the FDIC today released a report identifying possible strategies for financial providers. The FDIC report is based on focus groups conducted with unbanked or underbanked people, as well as interviews with industry executives and consumer advocacy groups.

The six strategies identified by the focus groups include improving customer access to timely account information, expediting access to money, making banking more affordable through better account management, addressing real and perceived security shortfalls, increasing awareness of mobile tools and encouraging long-term financial management. Consumers report that mobile banking is already improving the banking experience by enhancing individual control over financial behaviors, the FDIC said.

Mobile is an especially promising channel for reaching the underbanked, the FDIC said, noting that underbanked households are four percentage points more likely to have a smartphone than fully banked households. More than 90 percent of underbanked millennials — those aged between 18 and 34 — have smartphone access.

Bankers are invited to provide feedback on how they are currently employing these strategies, how best to shape a demonstration project and how interested they are in participating in a demonstration. Comments are due by June 15 and may be emailed to MFSDemonstration@fdic.gov. For more information, contact ABA’s Nessa Feddis.