The Bain survey found, for instance, that even though Chase is leading the way in branch closings, it "has steadily progressed in loyalty rankings relative to regional banks, in part by developing a distinctive mobile experience."
Mobile, these days, is everything. More than half the respondents — and nearly 80 percent in China and South Korea — say they would miss their smartphones more than their wallets should they lose either. From an industry perspective, the survey found that those who use apps frequently are 40 percent less likely to switch banks. (The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 to 7.5 percent in the Americas and Europe and 9.1 percent in Asia.)
For Meg McClafferty, going to the bank isn't even an issue. The 31-year-old finance professional from Boston is a customer of Capital One 360, an online bank where the mobile/digital experience is, well, everything.
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"I haven't had a traditional bank in almost four years, and I don't see myself having one for a long time, (if ever again)," she said in an email interview. "Everything I need in terms of banking is right at my fingertips."
Capital One 360 does have physical "cafes" where customers can get individualized service, but even then it's a nontraditional banking experience.
"The app has all my accounts with Capital One in one place, that I can swipe seamless between," McClaferty said. "Transfers and payments are a breeze. They are always updating the app to be quicker and easier to use."
The U.S. though, could be seen as a bit behind the curve internationally.
The Netherlands leads the way in mobile banking usage, followed by South Korea. China, meanwhile, has been at the forefront of innovation, with the Tencent Holdings' WeChat messaging app connecting some 600 million users.
WeChat users "can pay merchants and utilities, send money to friends, deposit investments into money market accounts, book travel tickets, borrow money and carry out other daily financial transactions with just a touch or two. WeChat shows how payments, commerce and social media can converge," Bain said in the study.
In Slovakia, Tatra banka has an app that receives high customer ratings for its ease of use and includes a feature that helps customers adhere to a monthly spending budget.
"Every month my bank provides me a overview of my expenses and tells me if I spent more according to the budget I set up a couple months ago," said Peter Gernát, 23, a banking student at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a worker at market intelligence provider Market Vision. "Probably the greatest feature is ATM mobile withdrawal. I don't have to use my debit card when I want to withdraw my money. I just use my mobile app."
Bain believes banks should focus on six key goals in developing apps: "extraordinary design discipline"; "radical simplification"; communication via "anytime, anywhere chat and video calls"; faster development of new features; "personalization… so that only relevant information is displayed to the user"; and "organizational agility" that breaks down barriers between departments and developers.
The new world for banking, though, is not totally impersonal. Shaheen, the Dallas executive, said he still prefers to go to his local Fidelity office to discuss his financial affairs through that institution, for instance.
Bain's du Toit said individualized customer service is still important, despite the growing trend to mobile.
"We talk about it as 'mobile first' as opposed to just mobile. It's not as though you'll ever get to the point of doing everything through the mobile process," he said. "People still matter."