COMPLETING THE CONVERSION: Bankers Deploy Digital Solutions to Bring in New Customers, from Mobile ID Verification to Automated Bill Pay Switchovers

By Knudson, Julie | ABA Banking Journal, July-August 2019 | Go to article overview

COMPLETING THE CONVERSION: Bankers Deploy Digital Solutions to Bring in New Customers, from Mobile ID Verification to Automated Bill Pay Switchovers


Knudson, Julie, ABA Banking Journal


More consumers today are digital natives, employing technology in nearly every aspect of their lives and increasingly expecting their banks to do the same. One area that's ripe for a tech boost is the customer onboarding process. Whether it's setting up automatic deposits or verifying a new accountholder's identity, technology is helping to streamline what has historically been a very manual set of steps. But successfully implementing digital solutions on top of an established process requires some insight into what the bank hopes to accomplish, along with a plan to maximize customers' adoption of the new tools.

Digitizing the customer onboarding process

Banks seeking to enhance their processes with technology should begin by thinking about the customer and their journey holistically. "Things like setting up online banking and mobile banking, to assisting clients with direct deposit, bill pay, automatic payments--those are all avenues that need to be addressed during the onboarding process," says Kyle Baker, VP and retail banking manager at Community Bank and Trust in Waterloo, Iowa.

To help smooth out the bumps often encountered when switching direct deposits and automatic payments, Baker's bank partnered with ClickSwitch. The company provides routing and account numbers to new customers' employers, vendors and other organizations to make the move as simple as possible. "They can help a client switch all of those automatic payments and direct deposits to their new account with Community Bank and Trust," Baker says.

Mobile account opening could be one of the most important things a bank focuses on right now, according to Edward Gross, senior director for payments and operations on the ABA Endorsed Solutions team. Consumers, whether they're part of the younger generation or just strong adopters of technology, now expect a digital way of doing almost everything. "They're not inclined to go through the old-school paper steps or even online on a browser for account opening," Gross says.

But as banks look for solutions to address issues such as identity verification, they must often find ways to deploy new technology on top of legacy infrastructure. Gross believes these integration issues can stand in the way of innovation and hamper efforts to make onboarding less time intensive. "Integration into existing core banking systems is a big impediment," he says.

Customers, banks both winners with the right onboarding tech

Technology is most useful when it goes beyond simply enabling a new customer to open an account from the comfort of their couch. Tracey Dunlap is the chief experience officer at Zenmonics, a company that helps banks optimize the account opening process through its ChannelUnited technology platform, which ABA endorses for digital account opening.

When it comes to identity verification, for example, Dunlap says that giving people a way to take a picture of their ID is convenient for the customer but it also serves the bank's needs as well. "When a customer does it on their phone it pre-fills the form, so there's less to enter and it's less time consuming," she says. The bank also benefits because they can begin fraud screening on that identification immediately, which builds toward stronger fraud prevention and authentication practices.

Based in Plano, Texas, Marquis is a software and consulting firm that assists banks with technology tools and related professional services. (ABA endorses Marquis' marketing analytics software.) Tony Rizzo, Marquis' chief marketing officer, says that when both sides of the technology equation--the customer-facing portions and the parts that feed the institution's backend processes--are in sync, the ability to deliver an excellent personal experience is the real winner. "It supports the customer interaction but in equal measure it also supports the mortgage underwriting process," he offers as an example. In this way, technology moves the customer through their journey, supporting the business and making it easier for bankers to put aside the mechanical parts of the process and get to banking's human elements. …

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