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Cornerstone Advisors Report: Five Mistakes to Avoid in DAO


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Customer OnboardingDeposit Account OpeningThought Leadership


key points
  • Financial institutions are prioritizing digital account opening due to the need for operational efficiency and customer experience improvement, as well as the competitive pressures in the market. 

  • Institutions must steer clear of key mistakes including underestimating integration complexity, neglecting marketing requirements, failing to cross-sell effectively and more.

  • A philosophy of continuous improvement is crucial for successful digital account opening. Financial institutions should actively monitor customer experience, proactively reduce friction, and constantly seek innovative ways to enhance the overall process. 

The imperative for digital account opening is high due to competitive pressures, but mistakes in implementation can hinder success. Financial institutions should avoid missteps such as underestimating integration complexity, neglecting marketing needs, failing to cross-sell across business lines, separating application processing from onboarding, and not continuously monitoring and improving the process. 

Digital account opening is a top priority at many financial institutions, for good reasons. With loan-to-deposit ratios above or approaching 100%, banks and credit unions can’t afford to lose out on potential deposits due to ineffective or inefficient account opening processes. A “friction-free” process is essential to the digital account opening experience but achieving this goal may be harder than it looks for institutions jumping into the DAO waters. 

“Not long ago, most financial institutions basically had the same digital account acquisition capabilities. Not anymore. Leading institutions are pulling away. Banks and credit unions that don’t provide end-to-end digital account opening must upgrade quickly.” – Cornerstone Advisors 

In this report, commissioned by nCino, Cornerstone Advisors identifies five common mistakes that financial institutions make – and should avoid – when deploying DAO tools and technologies. Cornerstone Advisors offers a detailed breakdown of the five most common digital account opening mistakes, explains the five account opening “moments of truth” and lists the DAO experience requirements to evaluate success. Here’s a preview: 

Mistake #1: Understanding the Complexity of Integration 

Complexity comes in many forms. While systems integrations are the most obvious, others include internal organization alignment, not having the requisite internal skills and capabilities, a desire to take a platform approach and bring other services and products to bear, and the creation of a unified brand experience across digital assets. 

Mistake #2: Understanding the Need for Marketing 

Often, financial institutions are so focused on getting their new account opening system up and running that they overlook the marketing capabilities, analytics and product changes required to drive new volumes. The best account opening experience in the world won’t compensate for uncompetitive products and pricing, and intentional marketing to drive awareness. 

Mistake #3: Not Cross-Selling Across Lines of Business 

Many institutions try to replicate retailers’ shopping cart experiences. While their intentions are good, most consumers don’t care if their banking experience resembles a shopping cart. They simply want the ability to select multiple products within one application without re-entering the same data multiple times. 

Mistake #4: Separating Application Processing and Onboarding 

A well-designed experience should include enrollment activities in the application workflow. For example, when new customers leave the digital account opening workflow, they should be signed up for digital banking, e-statements, rewards and, ideally, have a digital debit card in their Apple or Google wallets. 

Mistake #5: Failing to Continuously Monitor and Improve 

A continuous improvement philosophy is vital to successful digital account opening and digital deposit growth. Set it and forget it doesn’t cut it in today’s rapidly changing digital world. Institutions must use data to keep a pulse on the customer experience and proactively remote friction as well as look for ways to innovate and improve the experience. 

To learn more about the five mistakes to avoid in digital account opening, read the full report from Cornerstone Advisors.