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On September 30, Javelin Strategy and Research published a news release stating their forecasts for mobile banking subscribers in the U.S. for 2009 and 2014. They project 36 million U.S. consumers will be using mobile banking in 2009 and 99 million by 2014. I find that to be overly aggressive. ABI Research forecasts 7.3 million mobile banking customers in 2009 and 32.1 million by year end 2013.

Here's why I think Javelin's numbers are aggressive. According to several different estimates, the number of U.S. consumers using online banking was between 51-54 million at the end of 2008. In our research, we believe the vast majority of mobile banking customers in the U.S. are a subset of online banking customers in the U.S.Every U.S. bank we surveyed in our research required a customer to sign up for online banking to be able to access mobile banking. Using that rationale, Javelin's forecast would mean a whopping 70% of consumers who currently use online banking are now using mobile banking.

A second touchpoint for ABI Research's forecast was Bank of America's online and mobile banking customers. According to Bank of America news releases, 25 milllionBOA customers bank with the company online.That number is 48% of all online banking customers in the U.S.,given the estimated 51-54 million total mentioned earlier, arguably making them the leader in online banking in the U.S.. BOA also told ABI Research that in November 2008the bank had 1.5 million mobile banking subscribers.If the defacto online banking leader signed up 1.5 million mobile banking customers, a ratio of 6 to 1, how well wouldthe rest of the U.S.banking industry fare? Would it be safe to say BOA along with Wells Fargo, which account for a significantmarketshare of all retail banking accounts,were the early leaders in mobile banking in the U.S. and that their ratio of online to mobile banking customers would be the benchmark to measure the rest? This became an important element of our 2008 estimate, in which we believe there were about 4 million U.S. mobile banking customers. Are we to believe that BOA and the rest of the U.S. banking grew 900% in one year?

Unless U.S. banks change strategic directions and strategically market mobile banking to their customers who don't use online banking, which there has beenno indication of to date,ABI Research believes mobile banking in the U.S. will remain a subset of the total number of online banking customers.