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Written by Cyndie Martini
on March 27, 2020

With social distancing now in place, many banks and credit unions have closed branches or limited access. As well, consumers are avoiding taking risks in public places, such as bank branches. For those reasons, mobile banking apps have become a primary means of communication. Before the pandemic, consumers would not have thought much about going into their bank or credit union to conduct certain kinds of business. That all changed this month.

Banks and credit unions are now learning if their mobile apps are up to the challenge of being a primary resource for customers. Of course, customers can still call their financial center, but even then, some centers are low on staff because of social distancing. The pandemic accelerated a trend in mobile app usage that was already in an upward trajectory.

“This is a big sea change. A lot of our customers are telling us this is an acceleration of something that was happening already. But now it has gone from being a trend to being a necessity,” Tom Tovar, CEO, and co-creator of the Redwood City, Calif.-based Appdome, which provides a mobile solutions platform, said to CreditUnionTimes.

“Digital adoption is off the charts,” Todd Nagel, president, and CEO of the $1.4 billion-asset IncredibleBank in Wausau, Wis., said to American Banker.

IncredibleBank closed 15 of its lobbies. While drive-throughs remained open, the bank encouraged its customers to use its online and mobile banking solutions. “It’s absolutely skyrocketed in the past week alone,” Nagel said of mobile traffic in the March 19 interview. Customers are using the bank's mobile app to pay bills, make loans payments, and more.

One has to imagine what would be the state of banking if the pandemic had occurred a decade earlier. All of the mobile communication options and the ability to work remotely would have been very primitive and not at a level needed to support reliable commerce. The importance and efficiency of mobile solutions have already proven their worth and sealed their fate as a pillar of commerce that will continue to improve rapidly.

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