Friday, February 26, 2010

Opening a business bank account takes a week. So what!

A survey by Finextra last year reports that:
For the majority of corporates, it takes more than one week to open a new bank account, according to a survey Finextra Research conducted over the summer. For this and other reasons, 44% of corporates say they would switch banks to get better service, standardisation and automation through electronic bank account management (eBAM) processes.
OK, so a week is a long time to perform such an important transaction, but really, do the survey's sponsors believe that the time it takes to open an account really is a driver for customers to switch banks? Once your in, your in. The time it takes for every other institution to open a new account is probably a block to you actually moving on. It seems to me that the headline is trying to push the point a little hard here.

When I opened my new business account (admittedly a small business not a mega-corporation, but I bet they are a large volume of what banks are dealing with), Bank of America had the account open in about 60 minutes. It was a painful process to watch, but it worked. From my blog about the experience:
The issue for me is that the systems that agents must use to set up accounts appear not to be at all customized to the type of account or the needs of the branch agent. It appears to be true that agents and brokers in financial institutions are limited in the types of accounts they can open less by the skills they have selling an appropriate product to a customer or being licensed to sell what is available, but in fact in the amount of training they have in the account opening systems. In all, it took me an hour to open the account. The agent was friendly and helpful, but how few customers can she help in a day if the systems force her to work at that rate?

The survey from Finextra doesn't reflect my experience, even if I do believe that many organizations could do a lot better at account opening.

A post from the Improving It blog

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