A bank in South Africa announced this summer that its mobile banking customers will now be able to conduct transactions and monitor their accounts through Facebook. This type of cross-pollination between banks and social media does not yet exist in the United States, but it could be coming.
In terms of success that we're seeing right now, how many people are [banks] actually helping on social networks? Is this a big percentage of customers?
No. Most people, when you ask them how they would like to use social media or mix social media and banking, they're holding up a big red flag. It's most likely that they will look at it if it's about promotions or discounts and stuff. It's only a 4-to-1 ratio of people saying "I don't like that." But when you're talking about transacting and monitoring your accounts, then it goes up to 9-to-1. These are very strong, polarized opinions, but the first wave of people is out there. And what you can see on Twitter is that there are people who are tweeting on the go saying, "Where's an ATM? You know, what's going on? I've got a problem." So there are people using it. The first wave is here, so the big banks — Citi, BofA and Wells — are leading the way in terms of using Twitter as a customer service channel.