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Expect 2013 to be the year of the tablet
MADISON, Wis. (12/31/12)--2012 was the year of the smart phone in mobile banking. 2013 will be the year of the iPad and other tablets. Credit unions and other financial institutions are already employing iPads in the workplace for specific functions, while others are encountering operational, security and legal issues related to employees using Bring Your  Own Devices (BYOD) at the office.

The surrounding use of these devices at work will continue to grow. Consider the latest statistics: More than 17 million Apple iOS and Google Android devices were activated on Christmas Day--up 250% from that day in 2011, says CNN Money (Dec. 28). Apple's App Store saw Christmas Day downloads increase 87% from last year.

Credit unions will be faced with several choices:

  • Embrace the BYOD trend by letting employees bring their devices to and use them at will; the employee controls the use and is responsible for any issues, such as leaked secure information.
  • Head off the trend by offering the credit union's own tablets with secure information in "containers"--called "containerizing," according to Gartner (eweek.com Dec. 27); the credit union owns the devices and controls their use.
  • Forbid use of personal devices at the workplace. In this case, be prepared to enforce the policy and be prepared for unhappy employees who aren't as productive because they can't choose the device that works best for them, said eweek.
Some financial institutions, such as Barclays, own the tablets their employees use. Barclays recently ordered 8,500 iPads for staff to improve customer service and boost sales (American Banker Dec. 27). That averages five iPads in each of its 1,600 branches.

Sovereign Bank wanted a secure, locked down experience, which prevents synching with other devices such as an employee's smartphone or home computer. The bank offered iPads to 140 employees to pilot the devices in the workplace, according to New York-based information technology and electronics firm Tekserve, which set up the devices for the bank.

The key issue is about who has control of the device being used at the office, said Tekserve. Banks and others are buying the devices and setting them up with recommended apps and personalization, so the user's e-mail, Virtual Private Network access and other information are on the device the first time the employee uses it. Others assign each user an app store login and let them install their own apps.

These banks aren't alone. A host of credit unions are involved in smartphone and tablet technology with their mobile banking services.  Others use iPads in specific ways. For example:

  • Element FCU, Charleston, W.Va., which recently went digital, uses iPads to verify members and information, and avoid teller lines;
  • America First CU, Riverdale, Utah, which replaced laptops with iPads as a cost-cutting measure to transform financial data into pictures; and
  • Credit unions around the world use smartphones and iPads for field reps going into rural areas to make transactions with members.
Once credit unions choose which route to pursue with tablets and other BYODs, they should communicate their policies with their employees. There is a significant lack of communication between companies and their employees about BYOD, according to a study by GLOBO (mspmentor.net Dec. 28).  The company surveyed employees and found:

  • 68% of respondents used personal devices for work;
  • 29% said their company had a BYOD policy in place;
  • 42% did not know if their company had a BYOD policy;
  • 42% did not know if their company's policy allowed IT full access to employee personal devices;
  • 69% said they would not consider breaking a BYOD policy even if they knew they wouldn't be caught; and
  • 93% said they would not participate in a BYOD program if IT clearly stated it has access to the employees' personal information such as e-mails and contacts.
Even the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is taking advantage of the tablet trend. It now offers seven CPDOnline  courses available for iPads in its CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program. For more information, use the link.
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