How to Implement a Next Generation, Digital Account Opening Process

Posted by MeridianLink | October 12, 2021

The materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your own advisors with questions regarding the content herein. The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of MeridianLink, Inc.

Today’s consumers want high-quality service that’s also fast and they don’t want to compromise between the two. Especially as banks and credit unions adopt a digital-first approach, offering customers an end-to-end online solution could be the difference between building long-term loyalty — or losing business. Finding the right partner to get you to that finish line is a key decision.

The push to digitize account opening isn’t just innovation for innovation’s sake; it addresses a real demand. Consumers are more likely to use digital applications than ever before for their banking needs, particularly on mobile. Data from YouGov shows mobile banking usage is on the rise. In fact, the share of weekly mobile bankers has increased 22% since it began tracking mobile banking data. Over half of U.S. adults (56%) use mobile banking at least once a week.

For banks and credit unions, the challenge is overcoming legacy system obstacles to provide truly digital- and mobile-first experiences. A trusted third party can help create a seamless, convenient customer journey from start to finish.

Open an Account in 4 Minutes or Less

The account opening process should be quick and easy for a new customer to complete. Data from OneSpan shows that 57% of older millennials (ages 27-37) would prefer to open a new account on a digital channel or mobile app but 31-70% of applicants abandon their application without completing it.

This isn’t an isolated problem. OneSpan found that checking accounts see abandonment rates of 20-45%, but personal and auto loan applications have completion rates as low as 20-26%. This shows an interest in online options, but only if they are easily filled out and submitted.

“You see the websites on your phone where you have to scroll left and right, it doesn't all fit on the screen. That’s because not only is it not optimized for mobile, but it's nowhere near a mobile-first design,” said Bill Crowley, MeridianLink Director of U.S. Channel Sales. “It's a mess to use. The ability to do it quickly is so critical nowadays. We have competitors that take 10, 15, 20 minutes to go through an application and so [customers] give up.”

Ensuring a Successful Digital Experience

Many banks and credit unions that have struggled to create successful digital experiences are likely trying to go it alone or choosing the wrong support. To build a truly first-in-class, end-to-end process for banking customers, you need a partner who is an expert in doing exactly that.

The right partner understands how to integrate with a bank or credit union’s branding and service offering so that the customer’s account opening experience is seamless. Even though there may be several parties verifying data and certifying loans behind the scenes, these should be automated and streamlined on the back-end. Dynamic workflows and the ability to tailor the application experience to your workflow and product translates to speed and convenience for customers on the front end — from application initiation to account creation.

MeridianLink Opening is designed so that someone can open a new account in four minutes or less, in a 1-2-3 step process. It has to be configurable by the financial institution so that they can modify the account opening process or the loan process to fit their needs,” said Crowley. “People can get a credit card or a personal loan and have a decision — without human intervention — in under two minutes.”

Embedding Compliance into the Account Opening Process

Every market is taking advantage of third-party integrations, but the value-add can be greater in a heavily regulated industry like banking where maintaining compliance and tracking regulation changes are a huge drain on resources. With the right technology partner, compliance is built into the service.

MeridianLink partners with Compliance Systems to ensure that our product offering combines back-end diligence with front-end convenience. Designed to help businesses address changes in their industry while sustaining growth, the result can reduce up to 90% of the compliance documentation.

“We really look to reduce the tribal knowledge required in the compliance space by the onus of that process really being on us,” said Roland Howard, Partner Executive in Strategic Alliances for Compliance Systems. “We're the ones who are leveraging a team of attorneys to basically comb through any changes that come down from Capitol Hill at the state level. We're able to send those updates directly to our customers so that they're in sync and they don't have to worry about adherence to compliance.”

For banks and credit unions, this is a critical piece of the process. Customers want that fast decision, but it has to be secure and reliable. As an added advantage, data submitted and passed through digital channels is easier to leverage for future opportunities.

Seamless Digital Account Opening & Cross-Selling

The fastest digital account opening process still provides banks and credit unions with all the data they need for valuable cross-selling.

“At the end of that application, we know their financial info,” said Crowley. “The system can automatically present them with a current offer or refinance offer on their car loan, a refinance offer on their home, a preferred rate on a credit card. This is a huge driver for growing the business and financial institution.”

With an advanced technical partner, banks and credit unions can build cross-selling opportunities and promotions into the digital experience. Instead of rerouting to a third party to take advantage of the offer, the customer can access both within the single mobile or digital interface. This is particularly useful for applications that require additional steps, such as a mortgage loan that requires a separate savings account.

If a customer knows they can get end-to-end service within the convenience of a mobile app, they’re likely to stick around. A compliance guarantee and reduced documentation will also keep employees happy so they can focus on providing top-tier customer service.

Getting Across the Finish Line with Digital Account Opening

If you want to improve the customer experience from start to finish, contact us. MeridianLink Opening partners with CSI to provide a fluid, compliant, digital-first experience in banking. By embedding compliance throughout the process and ensuring that applications can be started — and completed — on digital devices, MeridianLink Opening helps banks and credit unions institutions create the end-to-end experience their customers are looking for.

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Topics: digital application process, account opening

Written by MeridianLink

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