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CMG Mobile technology presents challenges opportunities to CUs
SAN DIEGO (10/31/11)--The rapid growth of mobile technology presents opportunities and challenges as credit unions attempt to meet their members' mobile banking expectations, a lending expert told attendees of the California and Nevada Credit Union League Annual Meeting on Thursday.

Gen Y members aren't alone in embracing the convenience and benefits of smartphones and other mobile devices, said Mark Nelson, LOANLINER specialist, CUNA Mutual Group. A study indicates 25% of Americans say they are now doing most of their browsing on their mobile devices instead of their computers, he added.

"It's interesting and relevant to credit unions that consumers use their mobile devices as a primary method of accessing the internet," said Nelson. "Think about it. If that's their primary method of access to the products and services on your website, are you ready for that?"

Nelson cited a CUNA Mutual Lending Strategies and Trends study in 2010 which showed approximately 30% of credit unions offered mobile-enabled loan applications and nearly the same amount planned to in the future.

"If your members are--or will be--applying for loans on your web site with a mobile device, does that loan application work on a smartphone? Is it suitable for a very small screen on a smartphone?" he asked.

Nelson cited, CUNA Mutual's online loan origination system used by more than 400 credit unions, to illustrate the importance of having the technology members need to navigate a loan document on their smartphones.

He identified two technology approaches to accessing a mobile loan application--Native Apps and Mobile Web. Nelson said when creating technology for mobile devices, CUNA Mutual opted for Mobile Web, which optimizes the loan application for use on a smartphone.

"Rather than installing a program, or app, on the smartphone, Mobile Web detects the browser used by the mobile device and serves up mobile web pages optimized for that device," he explained. "And because compliance is such a significant aspect of our loan origination product, we need to have control over app updates due to the quarterly compliance updates employs.

"In the mobile world, the ability to ensure the member is always applying using the most current and compliant version is complicated by whether the loan application is a Native App or uses the Mobile Web," he added. "We decided the best way to help credit unions remain compliant is to go with Mobile Web."

Nelson said Mobile Web optimizes the Web page to fit the user's mobile device so the user doesn't have to scroll around to see the entire page. "This simplifies and cleans up the page so members can more easily access and navigate a loan app--for example," he said. "It makes it less difficult to navigate the loan application on a small screen and can improve the completion rate of loan applications."
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