The Financial Brand Insights - Spring 2022

Customers expect flexibility when it comes to which channel of interaction they can utilize at any given time for whatever reason they may abandon an application. For example, Cornerstone Advisors conducted a survey that looked at consumers opening an account between 2018 and 2021 and found that there were a variety of reasons for which channel a customer chose to engage depending on their specific inquiry (figure 2). Additionally, the survey noted that the most frequently cited reason for seeking human assistance was convenience. 37% of the respondents believed they would get a faster response.

Brian Berry, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Citadel Credit Union, a $4.5B organization serving Greater Philadelphia, notes that, “Our member onboarding experience is

Figure 3

Figure 1

Applications for new small businesses surged in 2021

Many institutions do not follow up on abandoned online applications

12-month change in annual business applications with planned wages


incredibly important to us — and our goal is to have seamless integration between digital, call center, and branch channels. We want to ensure our members can engage with us when they want, how they want, through any device or at any location. The branch experience is a critical element to our overall member journey for those who prefer to open an account with us in-person, so we prioritize that along with our digital account opening process.” Similarly BradWaldhoff, Chief Information and Operations Officer at First Financial Bank, a $5B








Credit unions



SOURCE: Total Expert © February 2022 THE FINANCIAL BRAND


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must reset and be open to serious change as they have a unique window of time to go beyond the incremental and drive long term profitable growth. In this article we will delve into three key areas that should be top of mind when considering digital account opening: branch incorporation; product diversification; and strength in collaboration. It will also offer perspectives from key thought leaders in the space from a diverse pool of financial institutions that are all leveraging the NCR Terafina platform and working to effectively prioritize their customer onboarding needs. Incorporating Branch Is Essential for Multichannel Success Being able to start and finish an account opening application in any channel (digital, call center, or branch) is crucial, especially for reducing friction in the customer’s experience, minimizing abandoned leads, and deepening customer relationships. A platform that is always aware of the customer’s current channel of interaction and provides tools that feature timely notifications and cross sell touchpoints helps deliver a customer journey that builds loyal and lasting relationships. When financial institutions were asked whether they have a process in place for follow up on abandoned online applications, 43% of banks and 33% of credit unions said they did not (figure 1).

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau © February 2022 THE FINANCIAL BRAND

Figure 2

Reasons for choosing a specific channel to engage

experience that spans their consumer and small business product needs across multiple channels. Crystal Radwanski, FVP Digital Solutions and Innovations Manager at First Fed, a $1.8B

institution, based in Terre Haute, IN affirms that “customers expect fast, easy and secure banking

Branch Phone Online

Questions about the products or company

solutions backed by informed and efficient customer service at every touchpoint. Delivering a seamless customer experience no matter the relationship with First Financial Bank, and the ability to continually assess and improve our product awareness, customer development, and relationship management processes is critical.” Product Diversification Is Key Did you know that there are approximately 68 million independent workers in the economy today? And a study by Abound “found that 51% (of independent workers) are managing their professional lives from their personal bank accounts. However, 46% of those do plan on opening a separate account — which means that 16 million independent workers will be looking for business accounts in the next year.” (figure 3) This is quite a compelling figure. Deposits One of the most challenging digital account problems that community banks and credit unions face is offering their customers a unified



institution in Port Angeles, WA explained that, “For us, we recognize the value and importance of helping our customers open different types of accounts, from personal checking accounts to simple business accounts, in an instant gratification world. Prioritizing the needs of our customers begins with understanding the power of offering a simple onboarding application along with a diversified deposits product portfolio.” Since First Fed’s initial launch, they have already seen a year over year increase of 241% in the number of accounts opened and a 193% year over year increase in amount dollars funded to those accounts. The uptake in seeking offerings that incorporate consumer deposits, small business deposits, and commercial deposits in the digital, call center, and branch channels has increased sharply. This trend has highlighted how financial institutions are making a serious shift to meet the complete and changing needs of their customer base.


Questions about which product was right for me 50%



Questions about the application process 29%



Trouble or issues with the application process 12%



Questions about the status of my application 12%



THE FINANCIAL BRAND © February 2022 SOURCE: Cornerstone Advisors





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