Article submitted by Bob Kirby, Commercial Investment Specialist for Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate

Written by Mark Heschmeyer CoStar Group, November 9, 2010

The convenience of the “mobile wallet” for making payments and accessing bank accounts from anywhere, at any time, could change the definition of “banking hours” — and the need for bank branches.

In a recent Deloitte LLC video presentation, Brian Johnston, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, said that, “Out of the top 25 banks, I am not sure that there is one out there that doesn’t have some type of focus or initiative in place right now on the mobile channel.”

In terms of sizing it up, Johnston said mobile technology is currently an $86 billion market in terms of mobile payments, having grown 300% over the last three to four years.

“We see significant growth over the next three to four years,” he said. “By 2015, there are forecasts out there that say it will be a $400 billion market.”

Right now, banks are trying to figure out how to create and set up the mobile channel, he said.

“For instance, certain transactions that occur within a branch are 50 times cheaper if it occurs through a mobile application or mobile channel,” Johnston said. “So, how do you shift customer behavior from a branch into that mobile environment?”

The Great Recession has already taken the steam out of new bank branching activity. In the last two years, there has been more bank branches closed than opened. New branch openings per year have been cut by more than half the annual activity in 2006 and 2007; whereas annual branch closings have increased by about 50%, according to FDIC statistics.

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Bob Kirby, a commercial leasing and sales consultant with Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate, has over 37 years of sales and management experience.  Licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi, Bob is a member of the Mississippi Commercial Association of REALTORS® (MCAR); the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® Commercial Investment Division; a candidate member of the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM); and an affiliate member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and NAR Commercial.

Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate is a member of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce (BRAC); the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce; the Baton Rouge Growth Coalition; the Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau; the Louisiana Commercial Data Base (LACDB); and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Several agents, on an individual basis, are members of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR), the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM); the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR); and the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® Commercial Investment Division (CID).