Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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GCF Online Banker
GCF Online Banker is nearing its 10th anniversary. Our small, community bank was among the first of its size to offer the convenience of online banking to our customers when we first went live on January 3, 2003.
No need to reiterate the convenience and benefits of banking whenever need may arise from wherever you happen to be at the moment. It's commonplace today.
Yet it's taken me quite some time to begin writing this article. I first researched old GCFlash articles we published when introducing this new banking channel. And couldn't stop reading. Old articles can be quite amusing.
We had to explain everything that could be handled online. What type of transactions were possible, the simplicity and convenience of conducting them online and ability to monitor your accounts in real time all had to be spelled out.
It was a much safer time, too. Crooks hadn't yet figured out how to ply their trade in cyberspace. This is evidenced by a quote from the December 17, 2002 edition of GCFlash:
"Systems are coded in such a way that risk is practically non-existent. When was the last time you heard about a security breach regarding online banking? Never!"
Those were the good, ole' days. While not much is new as far as capabilities of online banking, security is an entirely different matter.
Americans have learned to protect themselves online. And they understand that the ability to manage accounts in real time allows them to detect fraud immediately, minimizing any risk incurred.
They've embraced online banking. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center earlier this year, 81% of U.S. households bank online. Online banking customer satisfaction stands at 78%.
IDC Financial Insights reports that 73.5% of U.S. consumers now use online bill payment.
Since we've already reached the pinnacle of online banking, there's not much more we can offer. Right?
Wrong. Now we can focus on the little things.
Searching for something in your Account Transaction history? Your results will now be sorted in an easier to read format.
The same with Detail information. When sorting one of the table columns, the rest of the information didn't always sort correctly. This has been fixed.
You'll be able to print easier, too. A Printer Friendly icon will appear on pages formatted to print quickly. Loan transaction reports will now print in the same order as they display on the page. Previously, transactions printed in ascending order regardless of how you sorted them on the web page.
Before year end, folks using older Quickbooks versions prior to 2006 will be able to export their transaction information directly into the financial software.
If you're among those who see highlighting in the Summary page header, it will no longer display. This doesn't affect many users but it's a nuisance to those it does.
These are little enhancements, no doubt. But isn't it the little things in life that make the most difference?
In the previous article, I told you we had reached the pinnacle of online banking where we really had nothing new to offer. I may have misspoken.
In fact, just this year we began offering an entirely new method of online banking. From the palm of your hand.
Technology changes rapidly, as does public acceptance. It was hard enough to imagine online banking becoming mainstream when we first launched it 10 years ago. We never could have envisioned a time when we could bank through a phone.
Remember those early mobile phones? They were as large as those old wall phones that used to be connected by wires, and carried in an equally bulky case.
The same has happened with the computer. They don't have to be lugged around in a briefcase anymore. You carry them in your pocket.
People are connected to their device. They use it to perform everything they once did on their PC.
Including banking. According to Juniper Research, 550 million people will use mobile banking services by 2016, up from 185 million in 2011.
And this is an area we can continue to enhance. So it's just what we're going to do.
We discussed the details of Touch Banking when it was first introduced. You can brush up on the basics here.
We've also covered mobile banking security here.
So what does that leave to talk about today? How about coming attractions? Here's a sneak peak at a few things in the works:
Transfer money to anyone, anywhere. You need only a cell phone number or email address. Popmoney is coming to Touch Banking!
Bill pay customers are already familiar with the speed and convenience offered through Popmoney. You don't need the recipient's account information to send funds instantly. The Popmoney tab in the bill pay program allows you to send money to your kids at college, or chip in for a Christmas present, with just a couple of quick clicks.
Expect Popmoney to reach your cell phone in January.
Presently, you have to bookmark the mobile banking browser page to access your accounts. Coming soon, you'll find a link directly from the mobile version of our website.
As I mentioned earlier, technology changes rapidly. So does support for earlier versions of a product.
If you're still using an iPhone 2G or 3G, you'll no longer find support for these products. As long as your existing configuration is running fine, it will continue to do so. But if the software fails or you start to have issues, your device will have to be upgraded before you can continue to use Touch Banking.
New Blackberry users will not be able to download the app version of Touch Banking. The browser and SMS channels will still be available. But the app channel will be history. As with the older iPhone versions, any app currently installed will continue to work. But if it becomes problematic or you upgrade to a new device, you won't be able to download a new app.
Keep reading GCFlash for more information as these enhancements become available.
Consumer confidence hit a nearly five-year high as consumers trot into the holiday shopping season, unlike the last few years when the movement could be better described as a "trudge." That said, most other economic "sentiment indicators" were flat, with unemployment unchanged and drifting higher - that is, if those who have given up the job search are accounted for.
Still, with the election behind us, most people move on - regardless of whether their candidate won or lost. Under normal circumstance, all things equal, the recovery should strengthen at this point. But these are not normal circumstances and all things are not equal, particularly government receipts and expenditures - which are ridiculously out of balance.
And the economy is so wounded that many fear the politicians (of both parties) inability to deal with the "fiscal cliff" by year end could trigger yet another recession. One prominent economist put the chances of that unsavory outcome as "even." Happy Holidays...
I received some feedback from my comments last week about Bill Clinton being "a great president." Actually, I was quoting renowned economist Art Laffer who made the comment. I was simply heralding Bill Clinton as one who understood economics and generally friendly to business. I grew up very close to the border of the state (Arkansas) where Clinton served as Governor in the late 1970's and early 1980's. During that period of time, even though he was a Democrat, Clinton was well respected by the business community.
So the facts are the facts regarding Bill Clinton and the deficit. When Bill Clinton took office, he inherited what, at the time, was a fairly large annual deficit from his predecessor George H.W. Bush. To be fair to Bush 41, the first Gulf War had to be fought, won and paid for and a recession had begun and ended during his one term. Deficits were almost certainly unavoidable under these circumstances.
Regardless, Clinton reduced the deficit every year he was in office until his final three - whereupon he ran INCREASING SURPLUSES. So while Bill Clinton may have been moderate and even liberal on many social issues, he was by modern standards, the most economically rational President we have had.
But wasn't Clinton pulled by his liberal leanings for an ever increasing social welfare state? Nope. He also drastically reduced the welfare rolls during his term - a fact in no small part responsible for his success regarding the deficit. Unlike many, many liberals, Bill Clinton understands that a vibrant economy IS A NECESSARY COMPONENT to support any reasonable safety net.
As I type this, I am reminded that I was not, during his term, a big fan of William Jefferson Clinton. Yet when I review the historical economic data, it is clear that, at least on fiscal prudence matters, he stands head and should shoulders above most of his predecessors and all his successors. I expect lots of email...
GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.
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