Mobile mania, death of branches: Onsite coverage

by. Robert McGarvey

LAS VEGAS — The moderator of a Money2020 panel consisting of mobile-oriented banking startups asked them a blunt question: Is branch banking dead?

On a scale of one to five, five being dead, Alpesh Chokshi, who heads Bluebird for American Express, said his answer was five.

Another panelist at the Monday session said four. A third said six. Only Steve Streit, CEO of prepaid card Green Dot whose company also runs GoBank, said his answer was two and one-half, meaning that Streit sees at least some life for traditional branches.

Chokshi meantime chafed at another question, what’s the ROI of mobile banking? He said, “What’s the ROI of air or water? You need the mobile channel, in the way you need air and water.”

As for why American Express launched Bluebird – essentially a prepaid card with check-writing options – Chokshi said, “There is nothing in our brand values that says we are only for the affluent. The prepaid model lets us serve customers we couldn’t serve before. “

continue reading »

More News