Fingerprint access to your Bank of America Account

Technology in the banking industry is changing rapidly. The traditional way of signing in to your Bank of America mobile banking app by using your user name or password can still be used, but now you have the option of using your fingerprint.

Bank of America also added touch ID sign-in and redesigned its app and online home pages for a more “personalized, seamless experience.”

“We continue to deliver enhancements that provide our customers a more seamless and secure banking experience,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America, in a statement emailed to the Las Vegas Business Press.

The fingerprint sign-in works on Androids, iPhones and iPads. Now instead of typing in a password every time you want to log in to see your checking account balance or credit card and investment accounts, you can just hold your thumb on the home button of your device.

Other digital improvements implemented by Bank of America include mobile banking on the Apple Watch and a new security center with more tools, like an extra feature at sign-in to verify the customer’s identity. The bank also updated its tools for scheduling in-person appointments and its “speak with a specialist” feature.


Credit unions outpace banks

Credit unions originated almost twice as many loans as banks did in the second quarter of 2015, according to an analysis of NCUA and FDIC nationwide data conducted by the Washington-based consulting firm Callahan & Associates.

According to Callahan, credit unions increased their loan portfolios by 10.6 percent, compared to banks’ 5.4 percent increase.

Jon Jeffreys, managing partner with Callahan & Associates, said comparing credit unions and bank loan data reveals an interesting story.

“The banking industry holds only 60.8 percent of its loan portfolio in consumer-facing loans — auto, mortgage, and credit cards — while those loans comprise nearly 90 percent of the credit union loan portfolio,” Jeffreys said. “Consumers are relying on credit unions for their personal banking needs.”

By loan types, credit unions saw an 8.2 percent increase in real estate loans, 15.4 percent increase in auto loans and 6.8 percent increase in credit cards loans. By comparison, banks posted a 4.4 percent increase in real estate loans, 7.2 percent increase in auto loans and 2.2 percent increase in credit card loans, the report found.

In addition to strong loan growth, credit unions are improving asset quality. Callahan reported credit union loan delinquency came in at less than half that of banks – 0.74 percent at credit unions versus 1.68 percent at banks.


Navy Federal launches Android Pay

With branches in Henderson and North Las Vegas, Navy Federal is not the largest credit union in Southern Nevada, but the $69 billion credit union is one of the dominant financial institutions nationwide.

Navy Federal became the first credit union to launch Android Pay as a mobile payments option for its members.

The credit union, which has nearly 6 million members worldwide, estimates some 1 million of its members are active Android users, and approximately 90 percent of those members will have the option to use its mobile service.

Android Pay replaces Google Wallet, according to Google Inc.

“We have a large member population that generates 70 million debit card transactions per month and we saw more than $1.2 billion in credit card sales in August alone,” said Meghan Ground, Navy Federal assistant vice president, digital communications.

Ground said adopting Android Pay made sense because the credit union knows its members have adopted mobile technology and are using their debit and credit cards to make transactions.

Android Pay will be available on most NFC-enabled Android phones running on the Android 4.4 KitKat system or above. The service allows users to store their credit and debit cards on their smartphones and use their smartphone’s NFC chip to simply tap and pay at any location equipped to handle the payment method.

Android Pay will support cards from four major payment networks — American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.

Four Las Vegas-area banks are among a handful nationwide that are offering Android Pay. Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and CitiBank have rolled out the service to customers who have Android phones. The updated Android Pay was released about a year after Apply Pay was launched.

According to a listing on the Android Pay website (, more than a million locations support Android Pay at launch, including major retailers such as Sprouts Farmers Market, Macy’s, Staples and Whole Foods. Users will also be able to store loyalty cards and special offers in the app, and the ability to use Android Pay for in-app purchases will be available later this year.


Coming attractions

Next month, the Banking Insider column will explore how banks, credit unions and other financial institutions are changing the way consumers pay for their everyday needs. The Banking Insider will be attending and reporting on the PayThink 2015 conference.

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