App Evolution

“We have about 20 more enhancements that we already have on the drawing table of what we want to be doing with our app.”  —Warren Taylor, Customers Bank

“We have about 20 more enhancements that we already have on the drawing table of what we want to be doing with our app.”
—Warren Taylor, Customers Bank

A Pennsylvania bank sets a guidepost on possible mobile banking features and functions to offer next

By Beth Mattson-Teig


Consumers are used to having more and more information, services and conveniences available, literally, in the palm of their hand. As a result, many community banks are weighing which new features and functions to add next to their mobile banking apps.

One Pennsylvania community bank, Customers Bank, has been continually evolving its mobile banking app, called CB Access. The app has been a huge hit with the $5.6 billion-asset community bank’s customers since it was first introduced in October 2013. But the bank in Wyomissing, Pa., hasn’t rested on its initial mobile laurels and instead has continued adding features and functions to make its mobile app easier to use and more versatile.

“Our whole goal at Customers Bank is to make banking effortless for the customer,” explains Warren Taylor, Customers Bank’s executive vice president and president of community banking.

To that end, the bank released the latest version of its mobile app, CB Access 4.0, this summer.

Features and functions

Adding to standard features that allow its customers to check balances, transfer funds and make mobile check deposits using their smartphones, Customers Bank rolled out new features such as quick account access, mobile bill pay and person-to-person money transfer. Enhanced security features as well as access to content in Spanish also were adopted.

Customers Bank provides a layer of mobile security for its banking apps through an IBM security services company, but Taylor declined to explain in specifics on what those security measures entail. “You have to have a secure app and make sure you are keeping the customer safe,” he offers on the bank’s mobile security.

A P2P Money Transfer function within the bank’s app also allows customers to send money securely to others using their email address or cellphone number. For example, anyone who has had a child on a sporting team knows there are occasions when another parent collects money for tournament fees or a coach’s gift. Rather than writing a check or giving that person cash, individuals can use CB Access to transfer money electronically directly to the individual.

Meanwhile, similar to mobile check deposit, a mobile bill pay function allows a Customers Bank customer to take a picture of a bill with the account number and address visible, enter the amount of the payment and click send. The billing information is gathered from the picture to allow the necessary funds to transfer automatically. The next time a customer pays another bill from the same recipient, the individual only has to enter the amount, as the recipient and account information already have been saved.

Taylor says the number one banking task mobile consumers perform is an account-balance check. So Customers Bank created a faster way to do that through its app, adding an easy one-tap option so customers can access an automatic account-balance pop-up.

New Software Tools of the Trade

Speeding Mobile App Development

Financial Apps in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., introduced a new platform to help banks shorten their mobile app development process. The company says its platform enables banks to shorten the development cycles for new mobile products, whether personal financial management apps or fraud detection tools, from months to weeks.

Staying nimble

Technology moves so quickly that it is critical for community banks to stay on their toes when it comes to adding new features and enhancements to mobile banking, Taylor advises. “We have about 20 more enhancements that we already have on the drawing table of what we want to be doing with our app,” he says.

For example, one new feature the bank is working on adding in a future release is picture account opening. That feature would allow a customer, after entering basic information, to take a photo of a driver’s license to complete the application.

CB Access is available through both the iTunes app store and the Google Play store. Customers Bank declined to disclose how many times their app has been downloaded. However, Taylor describes the adoption of CB Access as “tremendous.” He also credits the app as being part of the overall package that helps to draw new business to the bank. The average branch size in terms of deposits is well over $150 million, and each branch operates with just one teller.

Beth Mattson-Teig is a writer in Minnesota.