Mobile Trends to Watch – Everything from Finances to Fitness


In the last 10 years, mobile devices have become a lifeline. This device once used for simple calls, now tracks everything from finances to fitness. It can be worn on your wrist and charged on your bicycle. Smartphones store your address book, family photo albums, grocery lists, music collection and essentially— your life.

While your mobile device can now unlock your house, teach your children how to read and even file your taxes, this concept that promises to simplify and streamline does create some unique challenges from a financial perspective. Yet when approached in the appropriate manner, these challenges can turn into opportunities.

Take the banking industry for an example. According to a survey by, one in five Americans hasn’t visited a bank branch in the past year. Traditional bank errands such as deposits and transfers can be done without stepping foot inside a branch.

As a community bank with an emphasis on relationship banking, we’ve had to adapt quickly to develop solutions to interact with customers. While customers still find value in face-to-face communication for consultative purposes, we recognize the desire of digital-savvy customers to transact day to day banking digitally.

As a result, we continuously adapt our services to include more robust online and mobile tools.

As we look ahead to 2015, these are some mobile trends that will affect business owners and bankers alike.

Mobile wallet and services will take center stage. There will be rapid change in this space as consumers gain access to a variety of services such as Apple Pay, MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange) and Mobile Wallet. Not only will this trend have a major effect on consumers and financial institutions, but retailers will also need to adapt to accommodate the necessary infrastructure. The mobile payment industry is still just in the early stages, but judging by the level of early adoption by financial institutions, technology providers and retail organizations alike, there will be some developments and growth this year and beyond.

Mobile phones continue to transform industries. More than 60 percent of U.S. consumers’ time spent online with retailers takes place on a mobile device, according to mobile and web measurement firm comScore Inc. To put this growth into perspective, consider that last November marked a significant milestone for the retail industry when, for the first time, Cyber Monday trumped Black Friday sales. With a growth of nearly 9 percent, this marked the largest online shopping day in history, according to IBM Digital Analytics.

This occurred after a weekend that saw fewer people shopping in stores or camping out for door busters on Black Friday. The retail industry – while obviously most impacted by this trend – is not alone. All business owners should take note and ensure a mobile strategy is in place moving into 2015.

Heightened concerns for fraud. Every year mobile devices expand in capabilities. With new features come new loopholes for vulnerabilities. What was once a cell phone now holds access to your address book, photo albums, GPS location, and personal or business finances—your life.

So it’s only natural that we would want to safeguard that information. To protect yourself, be aware of your mobile habits and execute easy fixes to protect yourself. Do you lock and password protect your phone?

When was the last time you tracked your online purchases and transactions? Do you access your bank account from a public Wi-Fi network? In order to stay on top of these changes, we suggest choosing a bank that is both easily accessible yet sophisticated enough to manage the ever-changing mobile environment.

Digital technology will continue to present opportunities and unique challenges to industries of all kinds. As a business owner you must keep the focus on your customer and navigate these trends wisely. The goal is to find the right balance between adapting to modern trends while retaining a model that can stand the test of time.

Gary O’Connell is SVP, Commercial Team Leader at Columbia Bank. He manages the regional commercial team covering Central Oregon. For more information about Columbia Bank, visit


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