Editor’s note: Each Monday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Money Talk,” a wrap-up of banking and financial news.
FED REPORT SHOWS MOBILE BANKING CONTINUES TO GROW
Mobile banking use continued to rise last year as smartphone adoption grew and consumers were increasingly drawn to the convenience of mobile financial services, according to a Federal Reserve Board report, Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016, released on Wednesday (March 30). The report documents consumers’ use of mobile phones – Internet-enabled smartphones as well as more basic phones with limited features – as they bank and carry out financial activities.
It is the Board’s fifth annual look at how consumers use mobile phones to access mobile banking services, make payments, transfer money, or pay for goods and services by cellphone, and inform financial decisions, as well as their reasons for using these services.
As of November 2015, 43% of adults with mobile phones and bank accounts reported using mobile banking – an increase of 4% from the prior year’s survey. The 2016 report and a video summarizing the survey’s mobile financial services findings may be found here.
IRS RELEASES 2015 DATA BOOK, AGENCY COLLECTS $3.3 TRILLION FROM U.S. TAXPAYERS
During fiscal year 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collected more than $3.3 trillion, processed more than 243 million tax returns and other forms, and issued more than $403 billion in tax refunds. The agency’s website continued to get heavy use with more than 493 million visits to IRS.gov in FY 2015, and one of its most popular online tools, Where’s My Refund, handled a record-breaking 234 million inquiries, a 24% increase over the prior year, according to the IRS recently-released 2015 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.
The 2015 Data Book describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015 and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance and the IRS budget and workforce, among others. This edition also contains charts that show trends, such as the decline in the number of audits and the reduction in telephone and in-person tax assistance, but increases in the use of online resources and volunteer tax assistance.
BANK OF THE OZARKS OPENS NEWEST OFFICE IN SILOAM SPRINGS
Bank of the Ozarks recently opened a new full-service banking office in Siloam Springs at 2401 East Main Street. This is the bank’s 11th office in Northwest Arkansas and its first in Siloam Springs.
The new Siloam Springs banking office, which will be managed by Julie Coonrod, has 3,596 square feet of office space and includes drive through teller lanes and a drive through ATM along with interior lobby teller stations. Bank of the Ozarks also is constructing two other new offices, one in Springdale and one in Fayetteville.
The fast-growing Little Rock bank, which is expected to close on two recent acquisitions in the first half of 2016, has 176 offices in nine states and had assets of $9.88 billion at the end of fiscal 2015.