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High Tech Keys to Small Business Banking: Upgrading the Online Channel

Report Published by Celent Online small business banking is flourishing.

After fits and starts since the late 1990s, online small business banking is coming into its own and is no longer overshadowed by online retail banking. Innovative banks are addressing shortcomings and boosting adoption rates to over 50%. The online channel is increasingly becoming the tool to enhance small business services without increasing cost to serve. The online channel is becoming the financial lifeline of small business.

High touch will continue to matter to small businesses (most banks report that over 80% of their small businesses visit a branch at least once a week), but they are becoming swayed by high tech as well. Small businesses are increasingly making decisions of where to bank based on the features and usability provided by online banking technology.

Over the past five years, small business online banking has improved dramatically, notably in the area of usability. In a new report, High Tech Keys to Small Business Banking: Upgrading the Online Channel, Celent compares the range of solutions available to financial institutions of all sizes looking to purchase a new online small business banking solution or upgrade an existing one.

Celent examined the online cash management offerings of nine vendors (because most serve companies of all sizes with their offering, the term “cash management” is used). The vendors are: Corillian (Small Business Banking), Digital Insight (Business and Corporate Banking), Financial Fusion (Corporate Banking Solution), Fiserv BANKLINK (iLINK), Fiserv ITI (PremierEcorp), Fundtech (CASHplus), Metavante (Business Internet Banking), Open Solutions (e-Commerce Banker: Business Suite), ACI Worldwide (Enterprise Banker; formerly P&H), and S1 (Business Banking and Postilion Business Internet Banking). In the Breadth of features section, Celent decided to compare the vendors to that of a leading small business bank with a proprietary online platform: Wells Fargo (Business Online Banking).

“The small business online banking market is teaming with vendors vying for business across a broad range of financial institutions. A handful of vendors have emerged from the pack and have made their mark by offering a strong combination of advanced technology, strong features, usability and services to a large number of financial institutions,” says Alenka Grealish, co-author of the report and managing director of the Banking group at Celent.

Banks have been grappling whether to direct their small business customers to retail or corporate online banking. “There is a sweet spot that banks need to target, one that provides a tailored offering to small businesses,” says Jacob Jegher, co-author of the report and senior analyst. “The focus on this small business sweet spot is going to drive IT spending on online small business banking solutions to US$257 million in 2007.”