Magazine article American Banker

Huntington Mobile Hire Put to Test

Magazine article American Banker

Huntington Mobile Hire Put to Test

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Johnson

In rewriting Huntington Bancshares Inc.'s mobile and online banking strategy, Jeff Dennes faces a challenge he didn't have at USAA Federal Savings Bank: a large branch network.

At USAA, where he spent 10 years, Dennes proved he knew what consumers wanted from mobile banking applications by spearheading successful rollouts of smartphone programs and a mobile remote deposit capture service. But USAA has one brick-and-mortar branch. Huntington, which announced Monday that it had hired Dennes as a senior vice president and director of online and mobile services, has 608 branches.

"What Jeff now has to do is not just bring in his mobile technology smarts, but convince the board of Huntington Bank to drop a lot of money into identifying the next mobile remote deposit capture - what is it that could set Huntington apart in a way that USAA has," said James Van Dyke, the president of Javelin Strategy and Research.

The potential return on investment is easier to predict for a bank like USAA because of its branchless structure, Van Dyke said. Mobile phone apps, remote deposit capture and other technology are sure to help Huntington, but it is difficult to predict how helpful they will be because Huntington's customers are comfortable doing business in the branch.

Javelin research shows that upon receiving an alert on their financial status, Huntington's customers are almost as likely to call the bank as they are to log in to its online banking site.

Huntington, the $52 billion-asset parent of Huntington National Bank of Columbus, Ohio, was considered by many experts a top player in mobile and online banking until recent years.

"When times have been kind of tough here in the last few years, we haven't invested in online types of technology or digital technology as much as we have in the past, so we're reinvesting in it," Mary Navarro, a senior executive vice president and retail and business banking director for the bank, said in an interview Monday. …

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