May 2012 Trends & Highlights – Financial Firms Discuss Facebook, Unveil New Apps and Revamp Websites

by on Jun 06, 2012

mayCorporate Insight’s monthly Trends & Highlights analyze key online releases, updates and themes across the financial services industry. For past Trends & Highlights, please check the T&H Archive

May Trends & Highlights Summary

  • Financial firms shifted their attention to the initial public offering of Facebook this month, with 5 firms offering some form of messaging about the company’s IPO.
  • Mobile apps remained a popular topic amongst firms in May, with 10 firms releasing new or significantly upgraded apps.
  • Additionally, firms released a number of revamped sites and/or sections over the course of the month.

Firms Initiate Dialogue About Facebook
A number of financial firms released statements to their clients online about the recent Facebook IPO. Charles Schwab posted a notice on its private site homepage informing clients when the security would begin trading and when clients could expect to see shares in their account. Fidelity posted two notices, one informing clients of the expected start of trading and the other addressing delays in order processing that occurred on the first day of trading, both of which were added to the private account summary page. optionsXpress noted that market orders of Facebook would only be accepted when the security began trading in the secondary market; the announcement was attached to the private site homepage prior to the IPO. TradeKing featured a blog post about the IPO on its public Blogs page. Finally, Scottrade sent clients a message containing the order entry rules and funding requirements applicable to the IPO.

New Mobile Apps and Features 
Firms released a number of new and upgraded apps in May. E*TRADE announced the introduction of voice recognition for the firm’s iPhone mobile app. Also, the firm unveiled barcode scanning for the iPhone and Android, and mobile check deposit was released for the Android. ING introduced CheckMate, its remote deposit capability. Merrill Lynch unveiled the ability to remote deposit checks for its iPhone app. Ally released two apps for both the iPhone and Android – Ally Mobile Banking and Ally’s ATM & Cash Locator. Fidelity’s iPhone and Android apps were updated with a new Investor Center/Locations feature to help clients find the closest Fidelity branches. Capital One updated both its iPhone and Android apps to include Capital One Deals, a service that offers in-store and online deals for their customers. Bank of America announced apps for both Android tablets and the Kindle Fire. U.S. Bank updated its Mobile App with a new Text Banking feature and also unveiled a new iPad app. Finally, KeyBank introduced its first apps, now supporting the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Firms Revamp Sites, Sections
A number of firms announced upcoming site revamps while a handful of others implemented changes. The new TIAA-CREF website, which was debuted as an exclusive client “preview,” was fully implemented for all clients in May. The firm also revamped the Annuity section of its public site. HSBC added an announcement to its public homepage in early May stating that the firm would soon introduce a new website, and then unveiled it within two weeks after. Following recent announcements, Wells Fargo unveiled a revamped private site My Money Map tab in early May. Citizens Bank updated the private site main Transfers tab, now called Transfer Money, with a new overview page and new external transfer interface. As a part of the updates, the pre-existing processes to make single and recurring internal payments were combined and relocated to the new overview page. Barclays released a video highlighting upcoming enhancements to the private site, including an updated homepage, improved security features and new navigation (the revamp has yet to take place). Charles Schwab made a number of changes to the design and usability of its private site, on the heels of an April revamp. Finally, Franklin Templeton redesigned its Literature Center, and MFS reorganized the Heritage Planning section.

 

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New Franklin Templeton Forms & Literature Overview Page (Truncated)
In Other News…

  • New Tools Capital One unveiled an account conversion tool on its private site that assists clients with a mandatory checking account conversion to take place in June. E*TRADE incorporated the third-party Metavante Payment Tool, which centralizes all of the site’s pre-existing bill pay features. The new Fidelity probability calculator allows clients to analyze potential options trades. A new MFS private site tool allows investors to calculate hypothetical gain or loss on a sale using different cost basis methods. Finally, Pacific Life unveiled the new Nautilus allocation tool on its advisor site.
  • Forethought Purchases The Hartford– It was announced in May that Forethought will purchase The Hartford’s individual annuity new business capabilities, consisting of the product management, distribution and marketing units as well as the suite of products currently being sold. No date was announced for the transition.
  • Firms Announce MergerTradeKing and Zecco recently announced that the two firms will merge businesses. Announcements were posted on both sites.