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2 November 2011
Bart Narter
Account opening is an interesting process at US Banks and it is insightful to see how much the process and style differs across banks. At one bank, I was given a needs assessment, asked about my mortgage and what kind of credit cards I carried. Another bank showed me a list of accounts and asked me to pick one. Finally a third asked me my income (I answered), and then did nothing with that information. I'm certain that there is a bit of variation within banks as well as lots of variation across banks, but it is insightful to see the philosophies underlying the questions. One bank clearly wants to be my financial service provider of choice. Another has products on a menu and invites me to pick. One bundled a savings account with the checking account in spite of the fact I had no need for savings. Another let me articulate my needs and move forward from that basis. As transactions continue to move away from the branch, American retail banks are going to need to be better at understanding customers and creating appealing offers to those customers. They haven't quite arrived yet. Do you have any experiences you'd like to share?


  • It is amazing that more than 5 years after studies came out around the importance of insight collection at the new account desk, the importance of engagement services and the power of a strong, multichannel onboarding process, that banks continue to 'go through the motions' with new customers opening an account. They may never see you in person again and the opportunity to ask (and act on) questions around the reason for opening your new account, your financial goals, your channel preferences and what services you use at other financial institutions will never be better.

    Instead of trying to sell you additional services, the focus during the new account process should be on helping you switch your current relationships and building the engagement with your new account with direct deposit, online and mobile banking, debit cards and rewards programs. Doing otherwise is like trying to marry someone on the first date . . . it doesn't work like that.

    As Bank Transfer Day approaches, I wonder how many of the accounts being opened will become primary relationships. Based on recent research, almost half of new accounts opened either do not become primary relationships or never get funded at all. As we move more towards branchless banking, this challenge become more acute.

    Without adequate insight collection and a strong onboarding process, lifetime value of the relationship will not be optimized.

Insight details

Insight Format
Geographic Focus
Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America