Personal Finance Management (PFM) is one of the hottest topics for banks today. Some of the banks are searching for the best vendor while others have already implemented PFM. Several banks are evaluating the returns from PFM implementation. Here, I would
like to help them with some ideas how to quantify the return of a PFM implementation.
Today it is clear that customers do want PFM features. Just take mint.com which has nearly
8 million users. What is even more interesting, that more than 90% of the users say they have changed their financial habits as a result of using the service!
HelloWallet is another example, where users are willing to pay almost 9 USD per month for this service.
The need from the users for PFM is obviously here. What can a bank win if they offer PFM for their customers?
Higher customer retention
A study made by Gartner Research in 2006 presents that the cost of acquiring new customers is about five times higher than the rate of retaining existing ones, and those new customers are unlikely to be as profitable as expected. Although, the cost of acquiring
a new customer varies country by country, it is averaged around 100 – 300 EUR per retail customer.
According to the PFM vendor Lodo, the annual member retention rates are 98% among those users who used PFM. This is higher than the retention rate for those customers who did not use PFM. If PFM helps reducing the customer attrition ratio only by 1 % point
per year, it is already a remarkable saving for the bank.
Defending the mostly visited communication channel
The independent services, such as Mint.com or HelloWallet could be a big threat for banks: if people start using these kinds of services, they will find less need for their banks’ online banking services. As a result, less customer contact would lead to
a decrease in banks’ sales opportunities. This is a disaster in these times when most banks have to reduce their branch network. Therefore, PFM keeps users at the bank’s online channel offering the bank an opportunity to communicate with its clients and for
Longer customer lifecycle
PFM can be used for an extended lifecycle management with a customer. The value of the extended lifecycle management is not only on the customer’s side but on the bank’s side: this ensures that the student, who has a student account with the bank, will take
his first mortgage here, and after buying the first flat, he can start making investment with his very first bank. This factor is very important since the #1 reason for
switching banks is a shift in the life circumstances.
Direct revenue generated by PFM
If the bank offers useful PFM services, the customers will be more satisfied, and will come back to the online channel of the bank more often – this results an increased number of transactions. Besides transaction fees, PFM users generate more revenue by
owning more financial products. Lodo says that PFM users own more accounts than those customers who do not use PFM.
Furthermore, banks with PFM usually see an increased usage of electronic payments at those customers who use PFM regularly – because these payments are categorized automatically.
PFM data offer a great customer insight which help in targeting the offers more precisely. A common experience from the online world is that general banner advertisement’s performance is very poor. However targeted ads perform very well – this is the only
way for banks if they want to sell online successfully.
Building a business case for a PFM implementation is a complex task. However customer acquisition cost, conversion rates, transaction fees, customer attrition rates are exact figures which can be a solid baseline for calculating the return on this investment.