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Credit Unions

Banking on Budget: Why You Should Integrate a Personal Finance Management Tool

Molly Mantei
Apr 25, 2018


Dear Financial Institutions,

How would you react if I walked into your bank or credit union and said, “I’d like to create a budget and track my spending in your online banking and mobile app. Can you help me get started?” Would you smile as you showed me where to access your personal finance management (PFM) tool, or would you dab at your beads of sweat as you explained that you don’t offer anything like that?

Unbeknownst to banks and credit unions, you have taken on the great responsibility to provide us, your customers and members, with the most convenient tools we need to manage our finances. You’ve come so close to giving us exactly what we need for financial success, but here we are, still demanding more. We’d like a PFM tool that goes above the basic budgeting capabilities in your online banking and mobile app. We want a PFM tool that would allow us to create a budget, track our spending, categorize transactions, aggregate accounts, and set goals.

If you are unsure if an integrated PFM tool would benefit your financial institution, here are three reasons you should integrate a PFM tool into your online banking and mobile presence:

  1. Answer the demand for a one-stop environment.
  • You’ve been advocating for our financial success by allowing us to pay bills, view transactions, send money to peers, and even deposit checks all on-the-go. When your online banking and mobile app lacks a PFM tool, we must navigate away from your site and app to access other resources like Mint®, You Need a Budget™, or Mvelopes® (just to name a few) to set up a budget and track spending habits. Not only does this redirect us away from your site and app, but this frustrates us to create yet another user name and password that we are destined to forget. We then have to bounce between your site and the outside PFM site just to attempt to set up a working budget. It’s exhausting enough trying to make a budget, and if we are already on your site trying to figure out our finances, just lend us a hand so we can take care of all our personal finance needs on your site and app. Supply that one-stop environment you’ve been advertising—we want it.
  1. Boost your online traffic.
  • If you give us the means to track our spending, categorize our transactions, and set goals while we’re visiting your online banking and mobile app, we’re going to visit more frequently. Personally, I know I’m not on my financial institution’s app that often because they don’t have an integrated PFM tool. Although their app shows me my account balance, that amount isn’t helpful when I’m trying to gauge how much I can spend at tonight’s happy hour. I find myself navigating to my outside PFM app first, rather than my financial institution’s app, to view the remaining funds that I’ve set aside for my Entertainment fund. Simply put, if your online banking and mobile app tracked our spending habits and supported our budgeting efforts, we’d be using your site and app much more.
  1. Invest in us.
  • As we bank with you, we are all at different stages in our lives. Some of us may be paying down debt, saving up for a down payment, hoarding funds for college, thinking about home renovations, or planning to retire soon. As we flow through life, we cannot meet our financial goals if we don’t have the means to manage those goals. If you lack an integrated PFM tool in your online banking and mobile app, you aren’t giving us the tools we need to even attempt to form goal-setting habits. If you’d like for us to build wealth so we can continue to use your services, invest in us. Encourage us to set and meet goals through your integrated PFM tool. Then, once we do save enough for a down payment, we can turn to you for our mortgage. Then, when we decide to cut costs to save more for retirement, we can turn to you to open that additional IRA. Invest in us, so we can continue to invest in you.

Now that you’ve reviewed why you should invest in an integrated PFM tool, will you consider providing this service to us? We are looking to you to help us help ourselves. Will you be there smiling when I ask how to create a budget and track my spending in your online banking and mobile app?


Your loyal online banking and mobile app user

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