Internet platforms now rank as the most frequently used banking channel for small and mid-sized US companies, according to new research from consultant Greenwich Associates. Two-thirds of mid-sized businesses and approximately 60% of small business use their banks’ internet platforms “very frequently”, topping usage rates for bank branches, relationship managers, call centres, and e-mail by a wide margin. While both small and mid-sized businesses still cite their relationship manager as their most important point of contact with their banks, internet platforms have become the preferred channel for dealing with day-to-day banking issues such as investigating the status of an unpaid cheque.
For the moment, however, both the threat and the opportunity remain matters of long-term possibility. Only 4-5% of the 560 small and mid-sized companies participating in the study currently use mobile banking, and the share of these businesses using any social networking technology as a direct part of their banking is even smaller. That is not to say these technologies are without influence in today’s business banking industry.
More than 20% of small and mid-sized businesses say they use social media for networking with other executives and entrepreneurs. “It’s entirely natural that companies would look to these platforms for information about banks given the extent to which social networking has permeated other areas of life and business,” said Greenwich Associates consultant Jesse Neumyer.
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