In our new report, "The ROI Of Mobile Banking," Forrester presents a flexible model to help eBusiness and channel strategy executives estimate the ROI of — and outline the business case for — their mobile banking strategies. The resulting return on investment comes to roughly 15%. While positive, the ROI from our model is far from a ringing endorsement of mobile as a money maker for banks today.

For the report, we use our model to estimate the ROI of a multifaceted mobile banking effort by a US-based retail banking provider with 500,000 deposit account customers. Forrester’s model includes eight modifiable inputs: four cost inputs and four benefit inputs. These cover the cost of developing, testing, and implementing mobile services, as well as the potential savings and revenue that a provider might expect from offering such services.

Our findings do not mean mobile banking initiatives should be scrapped. Far from it: Supporting the mobile channel is no longer optional for banking providers in most markets. Their customers and prospects — especially the younger set of Gen Xers, Gen Yers, and teen Millennials — will demand it. Forrester’s Technographics® research shows that 22% of US online adults say it is either “important” or “very important” that the deposit account provider they choose offer access to their accounts through a mobile phone or device. And more than a third of adults younger than 35 feel this way.

What our ROI model does demonstrate, however, is the need for mobile strategists at banks to be objective when weighing and articulating the business case for their planned mobile efforts as well as pushing the envelope on next generation functionality that will likely lift the ROI to more substantial levels. We believe new mobile-only functionality, as well as some hard-to-quantify benefits, will boost ROI for banking providers in the future.