The PFM Mystery: How to Quadruple Adoption Rates?

By Sicily Axton
Originally posted on TheFinancialBrand.com July 29, 2015
 

AFTER STUMBLING FOR YEARS TO DECIPHER THE PFM RIDDLE, SOME FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HAVE FOUND MAGIC, WITH ADOPTION RATES AS HIGH AS 50%.

When personal financial management (PFM) tools first started weaving their way into the banking industry, both consumers and financial institutions alike struggled. Consumers didn’t fully trust and understand PFM, while banks and credit unions wrestled with how such tools fit in their product mix and how to market them. As a result, adoption rates for PFM languished.

Today, nearly every aspect of consumers’ financial lives has migrated to digital channels. People desperately need online and mobile PFM tools that can keep up. Someone has to break the spell that bad PFM experiences of the past has cast.

“What it comes down to is that people need advice, but they don’t seek advice,” says Rita Sly, managing director of channels at ATB Financial, a Canadian regional bank that successfully launched their TrackIt PFM tool from MX. She says it’s great when people waltz into a branch because then it’s fairly easy to connect them with a personal banker (if you have one)… but that rarely happens — at least nowhere near enough.

“Delivering advice in a way that naturally fits within people’s patterns of behavior, that’s the sweet spot for all financial institutions,” adds Sly. “If you don’t leverage technology to make it part of customers’ day to day lives, you’re missing an opportunity to help them.”

Ms. Sly must know what she’s talking about, because it only took ATB six months since launching TrackIt in December of 2014 to get 46% of their online banking customers adopting their new PFM product.

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