Internet Banking: Relevance in a Changing World

Surprising, but true – Internet-based activity is not the preserve of the young “digital native” generation alone. A 2008 survey says that Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1976) uses Internet banking significantly more than any other demographic segment, with two thirds of Internet users in this age group banking online.

Gen X users have also professed their preference for applications such as Facebook, to share, connect and be part of a larger community.

This is some irony in this, since online banking, as we know it today, offers minimal interactivity. Unlike in a branch, where the comfort of two way interaction facilitates the consummation of a variety of transactions, the one way street of e-banking has only managed to enable the more routine tasks, such as balance enquiry or funds transfer.

It’s not hard to put two and two together. A clear opportunity exists for banks that can transform today’s passive Internet banking offering into one that provides a more widespread and interactive customer experience.

It is therefore imperative that banks transform their online offering, such that it matches the new expectations of customers. Moreover, Internet banking must journey to popular online customer hangouts, rather than wait for customers to come to it.

There are clear indications that the shift towards a “next generation” online banking environment has already been set in motion. It is only a matter of time before these trends become the norm.

Leveraging of Social Networks

Forward thinking banks are leveraging existing social networks on external sites to increase their visibility among interested groups. They are also deploying social software technology on their own sites to engage the same communities in two way discussions. Thus, their Internet banking has assumed a more pervasive persona – customers are engaging with the bank, along with its products and services even when they’re not actually transacting online.

Heightened visibility apart, banks can gain tremendous customer insight from such unstructured, informal interactions. For example, a discussion on the uncertain financial future among a group of 18 to 25 year olds could be a signal to banks to offer long term investment products to a segment that was previously not considered a target. Going one step further, a positive buzz around a newly launched service can create valuable word-of-mouth advertising for the business.

Collaborating through Web 2.0

The collaborative aspect of Web 2.0 applications has enabled banks to draw customers inside their fold more than ever before. Traditional methods such as focus group discussions or market research suffer from the disadvantages of high cost, limited scope and potential to introduce bias. Feedback forms merely serve as a post-mortem. In contrast, Web 2.0 has the ability to carry a vast audience along right from the start, and continue to do so perpetually. Thus, an interested community of prospects and customers participate in co-creating products and services which can fulfil their expectations.

The pervasiveness of Web 2.0 enables delivery of e-banking across multiple online locations and web-based gadgets such as Yahoo!Widgets, Windows Live or the iPhone. This means next generation online banking customers will enjoy heightened access and convenience

A New York based firm of analysts found that 15% of the 70 banks tracked by them had adopted Web 2.0, a number of them having done so within the last 12 months.

Standard Chartered Bank employees connect with their colleagues through Facebook and use the platform to share knowledge, clarify questions and participate in discussions on ongoing company activities.

Bank of America, Wachovia Bank and Commonwealth Credit Union have built a presence within interactive media to create awareness and keep up a dialogue with interested communities. They have employed a variety of methods, ranging from creating YouTube communities to launching campaigns on Current TV, a channel in which viewers determine content.

Personalisation of Online Banking

Vanilla e-banking divides customers into very large, heterogeneous groups – typically, corporate, retail or SME, with one type of Internet banking page for each. That’s in sharp contradiction to how banking organisations would like to view their clientele. Banks are moving towards customer-specificity, almost viewing each client as a “segment of one”, across other channels, and online banking is set to follow suit. For instance, a specific home page for home loan customers and another for private banking clients could well be a possibility in future.

Interestingly, National Bank of Kuwait had the foresight to do this several years ago – they enabled customers to determine which products they would view and access, and were rewarded with a dramatic increase in online transactions.

Money Monitor from Yes Bank allows customers to choose their landing page – for example, they can set “all transactions”, “net worth” or “portfolio” as their default view. Other features include the ability to categorise transactions as per customers’ convenience and the printing of custom reports.

Empowerment Online

Beyond doubt, Internet banking has created a more informed, empowered class of customers. This is set to climb to the next level once customers are allowed to proactively participate in many more transaction-related processes. The Internet has already made it possible for customers to compare product loan offerings, simulate financial scenarios and design custom retirement portfolios. Going forward, they would be able to consummate related transactions – which means, after comparing interest rates, they could originate a loan online, and once secured, they can begin to repay it online as well.

Portalisation

The emergence of Web 2.0 technology coupled with banks’ desire to personalise their e-banking to the highest degree is likely to result in “portalisation” of Internet banking. The idea of banking customers being able to create their own spaces online, filled with all that is relevant to them, is not that far-fetched. Customers can personalise their Internet banking page to reflect the positions of multiple accounts across different banks; they could include their credit card information, subscribe to their favourite financial news, consolidate their physical assets position, share their experiences with a group and do more – all from one “place”.

Money Monitor enables customers to add multiple “accounts” (from a choice of 9,000) to their page. Accounts could be savings or loan accounts with major Indian banks, or those with utilities providers, credit card companies, brokerage firms and even frequent flyer programs. Users can customise their pages as described earlier.

As banks seek to develop their Internet banking vision for the future, in parallel, they will also need to address the key issues of security and “due defence”. While it is every marketer’s dream to have customers work as ambassadors, adequate precaution must be taken to prevent the proliferation of malicious or spurious publicity. Therefore, before an individual is allowed to participate in a networking forum, he or she must have built up a favorable track record with the bank. The individual must be a recognized customer of the bank, having used a minimum number of products over a reasonable length of time. Qualitative information about the person’s interaction with the bank’s support staff (for example frequency and type of calls made to their call centre, outcome of such interaction and so on) may be invaluable in profiling the “right” type of customer who can be recruited as a possible advocate.

Collaborative Web 2.0 applications may necessitate opening up banks’ websites to outside technology and information exchange with third party sites, raising the spectre of data and infrastructure security. A robust mechanism of checks and balances must be built to ensure that the third party sites are secure, appropriately certified and pose no threat to the home banks’ sites. Likewise, before a third party widget is allowed to be brought on to a site, it must have passed through stringent security control.

Due diligence must be exercised before permitting users to place a link to another site to guard against the possibility of inadvertent download of malicious software, which could, in the worst case, even result in phishing originating from the banks’ sites.

It is equally important for a bank to guard its customers against invasion of privacy, data theft or misuse. The concept of portalisation envisages deploying technology to bring information from other banks’ or financial service providers’ websites into the home bank’s site. The home bank must ensure that its customers’ personal or transaction related information, which may be shared with the other providers, is not susceptible to leakage or outright misuse.

Banks will do well to partner with an Internet banking solution provider which has not only the expertise to translate their vision into a cutting edge e-banking experience for the user, but also the foresight to define boundaries for safety. With security concerns adequately addressed, next generation Internet banking is full of exciting possibilities. Banks that seize the opportunity may find that Internet banking can become a means of differentiating themselves from competitors, rather than a mere cost cutting tool. Clearly, providing a more powerful and interactive e-banking experience, is the way forward.

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How to Choose the Best Addiction Counselor Certification Program

The society is affected a lot by the number of addicts within society. This is why you find that the government and other charitable organizations are doing their best to help people get out of addiction. For that matter, you will find that the need for addiction counselors is very high. If you want to become a substance abuse counselor, then you should go for it because the demand is predicted to be there even in the future. However, it is important to realize that there are requirements or qualifications for you to get the best job opportunity as an addiction counselor. You can get yourself a great opportunity in hospitals, drug rehab facilities, prisons, and many other places but if you qualify. Education is always one of the best ways of getting the job opportunity and getting that certificate is very appropriate.

The most important thing to do is to choose a certification program for addiction counselors. Beautiful thing is that there are very many qualities that can provide the training and certification that you need. It is very important to choose the certification program for counselors wisely because not every certificate will be recognized by specific agencies. That is why it is wise to take your time and research and find the best. There are very many sources of information you can depend on when you are looking for the best certification program. Most of them are very digital and have the website where you can find reviews and testimonials from other addiction counselors that have taken the program before you. It is also wise of you to look for other sources of information such as referrals from friends, family, and relatives.

At the end of the day, you will go for the most popular program. This is because if you go to a recognized college for certification, then your qualification will be recognized by different agencies, you might want to work with. Also consider how effective is the program, especially it comes to the courses because it is very good to know what you want to learn. For example, you might consider those that are offering counseling skills, teaching on the crisis response, patient communication, patient privacy and confidentiality and many more. The other most important question to ask yourself is how much it will cost you and how long it will take you.

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Why It Is Vital To Rely On A Skilled Pool Construction Lead| Why It Is Important To Rely On A Leading Pool Construction Company |Benefits Of Choosing A Reliable Pool Construction Company

Several people want to construct a pool in their home, and other people want pools in their hotels and schools. It takes time, skill and effort to construct the pool, and it needs to be done in the right manner. Settling the leading pool construction company will make it easy to get the best outcome. It is essential to secure the reliable pool construction company in order to get excellent leads. You want to get good value for your cash and have a pool, which shall enable one to secure the best offer. Simply choose the efficient construction company and have the ideal outcome.

Investing in the right pool construction company, you will find there are different portfolios and you stand to secure the right leads. One needs to make sure they invest in the trusted lead, you will have the capacity of ending up with the best offers. This means clients will invest in the provider who shall create the pool in the manner they want. Failing to check portfolios making it hard to secure the leading construction team.

There are different types of swimming pools and one needs to know the one they need to have. You now have the chance of getting the infinity pools. These days, you realize several hotels will invest in the Olympic pools. There are different types of pools ranging from salt water pool, plunge pool and the lap pool. Once you take time and invest in the different leads, you have the opportunity of making the right choice.

Applications are easy to use making it easy for many clients to sample different designs ideal for their homes, or hotels. Several people are investing in the trusted pool construction company, which shall make it easy to access the plans. The applications will come in handy towards enabling clients to get the designs and star the construction.

Budgeting is a good move for many people since it allows one to initiate the project when they have secured sufficient funds. You find there are cases of stalled projects due to lack of funds. Simply connect to the reliable provider in order to start the construction when ready. By consulting the pool construction company, you have the opportunity of knowing all about the budget and know the right time to start construction. Once you invest in the right provider, you will know the right materials to use.

One needs to invest in a provider, who shall invest in the maintenance of the pool. It is the duty of the pool construction company to handle the different repairs and ensure the pool is in good state. Several clients are finding it ideal when they choose the leading provider who will make sure the pool remains in good state. This has led many people to invest in the best pool construction company in order to secure the best leads.

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The Types of Stretches That Runners Can Do

Running is an important activity that you can be able to do on a daily basis especially because it gives you an opportunity to be healthy. One thing you realize is that running gives you an opportunity to exercise quite a number of muscles in the body. Because of deciding to run, you’re going to have a lot of freedom in terms of your health. This process is never going to be easy and you can be very sure of that. One thing you’ll notice is that you have to be properly prepared for the running exercises every time. In order to get the best results with running exercises, you have to be very careful about which types of stretches that you’re going to do. It is good for you to do every exercise that is actually going to be of benefit to you and that is the reason why stretching is going to be a very good idea. Getting to do the stretches is going to be a good thing but first, you have to learn them. These stretches are going to be more than one, you are going to be powerful for your body.

The pyramid pose is one of the types of stretches that is going to be very good for your body. The reason why you have to do this is because it is going to allow you to have an easier time especially with your hands and your legs. You can even decide to do this exercise a number of times and you’ll be able to get very good results with your body. Another option that is available today is to do mobility lifts. If you are stretching for plantar fasciitis, this kind of exercise is very good for you. By stretching for plantar fasciitis, you’ll be able to strengthen your muscles in a very big way. Another advantage that you be able to get for stretching for plantar fasciitis is that is going to give you an opportunity to losing your muscles around ankles. By doing this, you’ll be able to have an easier time and that is why you have to do the stretching for plantar fasciitis.

In fact, doing the stretching for plantar fasciitis is going to allow you to have wonders in terms of results. If you know that you have the condition then, stretching for plantar fasciitis is very important because you will be helping your body. You’ll be able to have much better running experiences when you decide to do stretching for plantar fasciitis.

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