Is Digital Onboarding The Future of Business Banking?

An Executive Insight with FISPAN Co-Founder and VP of Customer Success Andrea Zand as she articulates how digitization and automation form the new client-focused experience, the biggest challenges of remote onboarding for business clients, and her predictions for future trends in business banking.

Chances are you’ve gone through an onboarding process with your financial institution, whether it be physical or digital-based. The difference between the two can significantly shape the future of your banking relationship, with 23% of business owners who employ digital banking reporting that their accounts were up and running within a day. As the pandemic heightened the need for digital solutions, an increasing number of businesses and individuals are looking to streamline their own onboarding experience, eventually building a happier and more satisfying banking relationship. However, it is becoming clear that financial institutions are facing challenges in the onboarding process, taking an average of 16 weeks from beginning to end. 

Wit onboarding being a critical factor in client retention, this continues to stand out as a key area of improvement as current onboarding practices still involve many manual tasks and physical trips. Remote onboarding also has its challenges, which include the importance of verifying and vetting corporate clients. Andrea Zand, FISPAN’s Co-Founder and VP of Customer Success, discusses more about the challenges that come with client onboarding, and the key role digital tools and individualization can play in the onboarding experience. 

Read The Full Executive Insight Below

How has the pandemic affected the onboarding process for corporate banking customers?

The increase in digital adoption is obviously no surprise, and more automation is still needed. During the pandemic, everyone’s been remote, so this has been a major driver for our banking clients in getting their corporate banking customers up and running in a timely fashion. This has also accelerated a lot of expectations for the bank’s clients. Their thoughts are at the forefront of what’s needed for successful onboarding. 

We’re all looking at moving to more digital and automated experiences. What's resulted is a new hybrid of individualization and customization coming into play. This then becomes a client-focused experience, where maybe at the beginning, or where more traditionally, banks’ interactions with their clients were quite detached, now, although more automated, they can be more customized for each onboarding individual. 

What are some of the unique considerations banks must take into account when onboarding business clients? How can digital tools or solutions streamline the process?

When there’s a lot of paperwork flying around, you have to get it right. You don’t want to take too much time because then the client gets really disinterested. A lot of client churn happens at that point, too, so they need to make sure that experience is really positive for them going forward.

Accelerating features and offerings to enhance the experience is now a major need to keep up not only with client expectations but with the way the world is shifting. The pandemic really made banks look inward at their product offerings and the client’s overall experience. If their product has been stagnant for the last few years, it just accelerated this timeline to say, ‘What other features can we offer? What other enhancements do we need?’ Collecting data from the clients became super essential during the pandemic. The use of data and other tools like AI also became an ally so that they can get some of this content in, quickly ingest it and then turn it around and offer a new feature or product.

Can you outline some of the challenges that come with onboarding business clients in today’s banking environment?

The convenience of digital onboarding comes with the need to have a lot of other security and functionality around it like high-end encryption, compliance with some of the standards like ISO and [General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)], KYC and knowing where the data flows, constantly doing security reviews, constantly doing all of your penetration testing to make sure that your product is contained and no one’s actually trying to infiltrate or gain access to your data.

We see a lot more of this hyper-individualized experience where before it felt robotic. This personal touch now is almost requested in the onboarding experience because of the pandemic. And because everyone was in front of their laptops, [they had] a need to connect and be heard.  This is a challenge, but a necessary challenge, and it’s also become an opportunity.

People are so used to digital consumer tools, so they’re expecting it from their banks, too, and this ties in directly to the client feedback we’re getting, and that comes up in onboarding as well. They get frustrated if the flow doesn’t make any sense, or if it lacks flexibility, and if it’s not tailored to their needs, or if it doesn’t have the dark mode that they want to operate in. 

When they pick up the phone, they don’t want to talk to a chatbot. They want direct contact, want to be heard, want needs met, want my consideration for how their business does business to be a concern. For banks, we like to be an extension of our client support, and we cultivate deep relationships with them to the point where we’re getting updates on so-and-so’s niece had a kid or the family just adopted a new pet. So, now it’s becoming a really in-depth relationship, but they’re also looking for that. They want to know that if they’re shaping the product that they’re using, or taking the time to give their feedback, thats it’s a meaningful exchange between 2 people.

What trends do you foresee for the future of business banking? How can a smooth onboarding experience set businesses up for greater satisfaction and loyalty in the long run?

I think Financial Institutions are going to a more in depth look at the distant relationships they previously had with their clients and work gain a lot more insight. The willingness to connect with them, learn more about them and to really shape the roadmap going forward is going to be the trend for the next few years with banks. Questions like - what, really, is our product offering? Are our clients really happy with us? Are there areas of improvement? Can we do deeper integrations? What’s working and what’s not working?

I just think that any predictive behavior that they can gain access to, they will. We certainly focus a lot more time on the data we’re collecting. Now banks are also asking all these questions. They want to know who the admin at the company is, not just the decision-makers. They want to know who the person using the product is, they want to know what products you’re using, they want to know what the trends are saying, and they want to know what payment products are successful.

This is new, and the banks can’t really collect this data; they haven’t set it up internally. So, they’re leveraging other FinTechs like FISPAN and other companies to do this. So, I think this is going to be a pretty big game-changer for the industry moving forward.

Learn more about the current state of commercial banking in this free FISPAN report made in collaboration with PYMNTS.

More About Andrea Zand

Andrea Zand is the VP of Customer Success and Co-Founder of FISPAN. She oversees client projects, corporate accounting, customer success, and back-office operations. Andrea is an experienced business owner and general manager. 

With a passion for building scalable workplace systems, she recognizes that company culture is essential for overall growth and strength in an organization. Andrea is committed to establishing processes and procedures and maintaining SOC2 and other applicable operational designations at FISPAN, and is the company’s privacy officer.


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