Big in 2011: Finance
2011 was certainly an eventful year for the Finance industry. There was fee frenzy, record volatility on Wall Street, and a movement to ‘Occupy’ anything and everything. Before we turn the page to 2012, here’s a quick look at the most important sub-category trends that we saw in Finance this year:
Brokers have been looking looking for new ways to innovate and attract customers. It’s not just about mobile apps and trading platforms. For example, Charles Schwab recently announced that they will let customers invest overseas in local currencies. Major market volatility has resulted in record trading for brokers. And many investors expecting market volatility to be the norm for the foreseeable future.
Brokers have been working hard to educate consumers. Scottrade, E*Trade and Charles Schwab have all created tools or tips to help consumers with investing strategies.
There has been huge growth in mobile financial service usage and in financial mobile app usage. Every bank now has an app that allows customers to manage accounts with smartphones.
But not every financial decision has been well-received by consumers. A couple big banks contemplated rolling out new fees this year, and as a result, many customers left their banks and joined credit unions.
The Insurance category has been surprisingly tech savvy this year. Allstate, State Farm, GEICO and Progressive have all launched at least 5 iPhone apps.
Safe driving has been a key theme throughout the year for the insurance industry. Progressive and State Farm both launched tools to monitor driving habits. Allstate, State Farm and GEICO have also launched initiatives to support safe teen driving.
American Express has created an impressive social footprint, effectively utilizing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and FourSquare. Customers who link their Foursquare profiles to their AmEx cards can redeem special offers without scanning codes or printing coupons. It offers users more tangible benefits to checking in than being appointed mayor, such as $10 off a $75 purchase at H&M.
And it looks like these consumer-facing efforts are working for the financial services industry because perception is improving! According to Consumer Reports, only 12% of people feel unfairly treated by credit card companies. That’s down from 15% in 2010 and 22% in 2009.
Tax companies reported more total filings and more early filings in 2011. H&R Block, Turbo Tax and Jackson Hewitt have all been extremely focused on social media campaigns to drive more interaction with consumers. Tax companies are finding new ways to make it easier for consumers to do their taxes and track their refunds.