The advent of online banking more than a decade ago led to a rush among area banks large and small to adopt the technology that allowed customers to check their accounts, transfer funds and pay bills from their desktop computers.
But some area banks haven't been as quick to adopt mobile banking, which allows customers to use the same kinds of services from a mobile phone.
The reasons for and against banks' adoption of mobile banking are many and varied, bankers and industry experts said.
But at least one banker said the pace of mobile banking adoption is likely to change.
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"I think it's going to snowball and you're going to see a huge adoption rate by banks," said Frank Wright, senior vice president and electronic banking officer at Capitol Federal Savings in Topeka.
Bank of America and Wachovia, now Wells Fargo, were the first banks to roll out mobile banking in the area, in 2007.
Since then, Kansas City, Mo.-based Commerce Bank has rolled out the service as well as Capitol Federal and Wichita-based Southwest National Bank and Meritrust Credit Union.
But some area banks that are typically quick to latch on to the latest technology are being more deliberative about mobile banking.
Capitol Federal's Wright said with online banking, banks saw it as a means to expand their territories without having to build million-dollar branches. That's why banks were quick to offer that service.
"I think it was very much a bank-initiated strategic decision," Wright said.
Mobile banking is more of a consumer-driven process, he said.
Consumer demand — or lack thereof — is partly why Intrust Bank hasn't rolled out a mobile banking offering.
The largest locally based bank is still evaluating several ways to offer mobile banking, said Tom Morrison, senior vice president and the bank's director of e-commerce.
"Part of the situation always comes down to... is there a problem that needs to be solved?" Morrison said.
Intrust announced a year ago that it had signed an agreement with a Rhode Island company to provide the service to the bank's customers.
Morrison said Intrust, which was one of the area banks to be an early adopter of an Internet-based online banking service, continues to evaluate several potential mobile banking offerings.
"We have not yet found the one platform or technology that makes sense for the majority of our customers," he said.
He also said the bank has not seen strong customer demand for the service, either.
"They're still not really asking us for mobile," Morrison said.
But the bank still plans to have a mobile banking offering, he said.
For Bank of America, the decision to offer the service was a quick one, said spokeswoman Diane Wagner.
"For us, we're a leader in the industry for these types of technologies," Wagner said, adding that the bank has employees dedicated to keeping abreast of the latest banking technologies and evaluating their use at Bank of America. "It's important to the bank because it's important to the customers."
Cindy Tetrault, vice president and manager of online services for Commerce Bank in Kansas City, said her bank also took a deliberative approach to offering mobile banking, including through customer surveys, customer comments and interviews with branch workers.
"We make investments that bring value," Tetrault said. "Until there's a need or a desire for our customers to have it, we're not going to jump in."
Southwest National was one of the area's smallest banks to jump quickly into a mobile banking offering.
Trish Minard, Southwest National CEO, said she expected more customers to latch on to the service. As it is, most of Southwest's mobile customers are young, in their 20s and 30s.
"It's not used as much as I thought it would be," she said.
She attributes the low usage to the fact that her bank hasn't done a lot of promotion of the service.
But, like Capitol Federal's Wright, she thinks that over time more of her customers will become comfortable with mobile banking.
Eventually "I think it's going to be a necessary piece in our product offering," Minard said.
Wright said that his expectation for explosive growth is based not so much on greater familiarity with mobile banking, but with the expanding development of applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry and other mobile phones.
"Consumer behavior with cell phones is just changing everything," he said.