Monday, September 26, 2011

Social Media and Banks

Banks all over the world are slowly waking up to the potential of Social Media in everyday banking. With every passing day, they seem to discover new and ingenious ways of putting it to use.   Here are some of the ways banks are using Social Network Intelligence.

New Accounts: Targeting prospective customers is a challenge faced by marketers.  Now Citi and American Express have used Facebook data to target prospects of a specific age demographic. For example CitiForward and Zync cards have relied on social network intelligence to target young adult prospects.

Rural Expansion: Community Banks in Australia have built a strong customer base in rural Australia using social media to build “virtual communities”. 

Credit Risk: When processing loan applications, check on Facebook friends provides insights into applicant.   A California based company, Rapleaf (Rapleaf.com) claims that its studies have shown that if friends in the network are responsible borrowers, then the applicant is more likely to be a responsible borrower. On the other hand if Facebook friends of an applicant has  quite a few who have foreclosed on their homes, then more than likely the applicant will also default  / foreclose on the mortgage.  In other words,  “like follows like”.  If there is no legal or regulatory hurdle, many banks are likely to adopt this insight from Facebook.

Fraud Detection: Lenders are now matching application data with social media data to detect fraudulent applications.   For example, if the address provided on the loan application does not match Facebook location, then application is subject to further checks.  Secondly, if applicant has large number of “Friends” on Facebook, then the email ID is treated as “safe / reliable” email ID.

The coming months will tell us more about how banks and financial services are using Social Network Intelligence.

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