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Brave new banking: upwardly mobile

A new independent study, commissioned by Ordnance Survey, found that the retail banking community is becoming more aware of the importance of location intelligence. Regulation and compliance is a key driver for the use of location data, helping banks to manage risk concentrations and minimising capital set-aside requirements.

In the second in a series of articles, we look at how retail banks are also using location data to guide key business decisions and helping to meet the needs of the modern, mobile customer.

Banking goes mobile

25% of UK adults use mobile devices for banking

Society is changing its habits regularly when it comes to banking. The recent explosion on portable device usage, particularly smartphones, has driven up demand for mobile banking capabilities – an area where respondents universally reported significant development activity at their institution. Many commentators are claiming that new technological and customer service development in retail banking should be oriented towards a ‘mobile first’ outlook, given the pace of take-up in M-banking.

Mobile partnerships

“The idea of bringing special offers together on a geo-basis (geo-triggered) – you’re in a particular location and you want a restaurant or a shop – is something we’re actively exploring. There’s real customer value to be gained here – we want more transaction on our card(s) and the retailer wants to fill their low transaction periods.”

VP, Marketing, Retail Bank

In order to implement effective mobile banking services (or better put – services for a more mobile customer), certain institutions reported that they are already exploring partnerships with mobile network providers, and with retailers or groups of retailers.

‘Location’ is what links these emerging co-operative ventures. Knowledge of location is also the main driver behind banks’ increasing need to refine the skill of communicating and serving the modern, always-connected and mobile customer. It is not a coincidence that the key development area relevant to geo-data-based applications cited by most respondents was indeed mobile banking.

Branch becomes customer service centre

As customers become more mobile and heavier users of remote (online) banking services, the demand for transaction processing in the branch has dwindled rapidly. Branches, say respondents, have become customer service centres where loans, mortgage, investment and other advice and consultation is delivered. At a strategic level, location analysis is being focused on which branches can best service this requirement, and which should be divested.

From a mobile banking perspective, analysis becomes focused less on who lives in the branch catchment, and more a matter of the range of customer for whom the branch is a convenient service point – whether near home, on the way to work, near work, or on routes frequently taken. In any of these analyses, proximity to a host of factors (attractive retail centres, disruptive infrastructure development, for example) help assess the strategic decision of whether to close, retain or develop a branch. This amounts to sophisticated decision support based on location data, not simply the visualisation legacy of the past.

Addressing the 360° customer view

One of the most powerful pieces of location data is an address. If address information can also incorporate projected addresses (based on planning data) and lapsed addresses, and differentiate between multiple occupancy units at a single delivery point with a unique reference number, then it becomes a powerful, consistent dataset that underpins every piece of information held on a customer within a bank. This is important because it allows the different parts of a bank (whether different product divisions, subsidiaries or acquisitions/mergers) to more easily combine their data to get a 360° view of the customer using a unique property reference number. Comprehensive, accurate and detailed address data is the key to obtaining that 360° view.


In short, this research exercise revealed a high concentration of effort among UK-based retail banks to compete effectively in the mobile banking market. This is making banks rethink the nature and role of the branch as patterns of customer behaviour, and locations where the customer needs to be served, begin to change. Location and location intelligence is recognised by the banking community as the key to making these initiatives happen, and to establish a compelling mobile banking offering that retains and gains customers.

Get in touch for more information on how accurate location data can enhance your business, improve your efficiencies and increase your competitive advantage.

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© Ordnance Survey 2016