Monday, February 01, 2010

Dealing with volatility of account opening

The markets are recovering. Oh, no they're not. Oh, they are again. Are we expecting new customer applications this month? Wait a minute, we're overloaded.

New customers are the life-blood of every bank, credit union, mortgage company and securities brokerage. New customers bring new cash, and immediate opportunities for up-selling to other profitable products. The volatility of new home starts (up 10.7% in November 2009, down 4% in December - American Bankers Association) demonstrates the importance of converting prospective customers effectively when time are slow, and handling spikes in volume to take advantage of a rush.

Amazingly, most financial services organizations have products that still require an account application form to be printed, filled out in ink, signed and sent. Credit cards, mortgages, and brokerages typically need paper applications. This leads to 'not in good order' (NIGO) applications accounting for between 25% and 80% of applications made on paper, with manual processing taking 45 minutes (according to Forrester). In the lean times, the time it takes is not an issue if you have retained your back-office administrators, but during a rush everyone struggles to keep up with the volume of new customers. More mistakes are probably made during these rushes than any other, leading to further backlogs.

This is not new news, so why am I harping on about it again? Well, account applications are still done on paper application forms, which signifies to me that organizations still haven't worked out how to handle their account opening online. They are still making mistakes and valuable customers are still being irritated by their details being incorrectly set up. Customer services still has to deal with the aftermath of data corrections. And the auditors and regulators are still questioning whether they really have the supervisory controls in place that demonstrate they are following best practices.

For this reason, Consected has released a live demo of an account opening application form and back-office workflow, so financial services organizations can see how they could improve by putting applications online with minimal cost and effort.

Consected provides consulting services, SaaS and complete solutions to fit the needs of a specific client. A small credit union has very different needs from a mid-sized brokerage firm. So if you work for an organization that knows it needs to improve its account opening, but doesn't know where to start, contact Consected for a free 'account opening evaluation'.

However firms feel they want to approach streamlining their account opening forms and processes, they should consider putting it in place before the next big rush.

A post from the Improving It blog

To implement workflow and process automation in your business today, visit

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