Ally to Launch Apple Watch App Later This Month

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / ElwynnAlly Bank will become the latest bank to launch a smartwatch app later this month.

Ally is also continuing its tradition of mobile innovation with an Apple Watch, set to launch later this month, Ally Bank President & CEO Diane Morais told Bank Innovation. The app will include functionality to find an ATM, which may sound prosaic, but providing guidance to fee-free ATMs is important for customers of a branchless bank like Ally.

It’s worth noting that the release of a new Apple Watch operating system, watchOS2, this week should mean more advanced functionality for bank apps, as it will free wearables from the need to be tethered to phones.

Bill pay functionality within Ally’s apps will also be updated later this month, said Morais, who used to run Ally Bank’s innovation team.

Morais took the reins at Ally Bank in March.

The direct bank announced last week that it secured its 1 millionth customer and now owns $53 billion in retail deposits. Though parent company Ally Financial has 4.5 million auto loan customers, few of those million depositors have come from that group, Morais told Bank Innovation. That is about to change. The bank has efforts underway to include messaging about Ally Bank in welcome kits sent to Ally auto loan customers. There will also be incentives to encourage loan customers to set up direct payments out of Ally Bank accounts.

“We weren’t doing a great job communicating [to loan customers] that we’re a bank, too,” Morais said. “We’re really filling out the communication stream now to show customers to whole span of products we have to offer.”

Ally is the 14th-largest bank in the U.S. by assets.

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