By 2016, one-quarter of the top 50 global banks will have launched a banking app store for customers, according to new research from Gartner Inc.

The explosive growth of apps is causing significant challenges for the banking industry, the research firm says. Banking CIOs and line of business executives face two key challenges. One is that the visibility of customer banking apps in public stores is decreasing due to the total number of apps available; and another is that visibility of apps on bank websites is decreasing as the number of apps a bank deploys increases.

This second issue is made worse by the fact that most bank websites don’t make it easy for customers to find their apps, Gartner says. They are often listed by line of business, making it difficult for customers to see all the apps offered by the bank. Even if they are listed in one place, the descriptions are often high-level and vague.

"Left unaddressed, these two challenges and others could really have a negative impact on banking revenues and customer experience," Kristen Moyer, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Banks can use banking app stores to improve app discovery. But only if the added cost and complexity are warranted."

In light of the challenges and opportunities, Gartner suggests that banks evaluate the potential need for a banking app store, improve website organization to support app discovery and user experience, and continue to make banking apps available through the public stores.

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