From Lee: PFM & Account Aggregation – The Next Phase of Online Banking

In February, I wrote about the personal financial management (PFM) and account aggregation tool called Mint that was being used by some of our members. The introduction of data protection measures required by federal regulation had rendered this product unusable on our online banking service. At that time, I promised we’d do some research and follow-up.

Since then, we have surveyed our members and have taken a much closer look at Mint and their account aggregation feature. Account aggregation allows the member to see all their accounts on one page even if held at several institutions. The surveys indicate that not many of our members place a high value on “account aggregation.”

While it may be very convenient for the member, the Mint product does pose a security issue because account data is being exchanged between institutions. We also found that the larger banks that offer their own account aggregation product are having some problems with functionality. In addition, Mint is owned by Intuit whose business model includes selling many of their own products and services.

At this point, we are choosing not to pursue a relationship with Mint. We feel it is just too risky and it appears many of our members have other priorities. However, we do realize that account aggregation is evolving and we anticipate it will be a part of the next phase of online and mobile banking. We simply need to make certain the adequate security measures are in place and that we choose the right service provider. It needs to be simple to use, secure, and must protect our members’ financial data.

Family Trust already provides a personal finance management tool with our online and mobile banking services. It includes many of the benefits member ranked important in our survey – balance and billpay alerts. We are looking at releasing a newer and more robust PFM later this year, and it will possibly include account aggregation. I will continue to keep you informed as we all experience a revolution in the way banking and financial services are provided. We also welcome your feedback to let us know what you like and dislike about our services.

PS: On a related subject, Apple Pay has been a frequent news story. This is Apple’s solution for paying merchants in their shop using your smart phone. Family Trust has made the commitment to provide Apple Pay as a service to our members, and we are in the queue for rollout. We hope to make it available later this year.