Frictionless Onboarding : Pipe Dream or Practical Reality?

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Frictionless Onboarding : Pipe Dream or Practical Reality?

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Transaction Banking is an attractive and profitable business with corporate customers spending nearly 5 times more on their banking requirements than credit-only customers. When the minimal balance sheet commitments, the attractive return of capital and the higher cross selling opportunities are added into the mix, it is obvious why many banks across the globe are focusing on this area.


Most banks are spending heavily on attracting new customers, and also encouraging existing customers to apply for additional services. However, the time period immediately following the sale is critical to long-term profitability of the relationship and this is where many corporate banks are struggling. Poor on-boarding processes – paper intensive, manual workflows which demand answers to questions the bank already knows and offering limited transparency are constantly undermining the work they are doing to attract customers, impacting the sales of new products and ultimately reducing revenues.


Recognizing this, banks have invested in improving the onboarding process; but a significant proportion of investment has been directed towards complying with KYC regulations. Often the result is that the complexity of the overall process actually increases.  An average corporate onboarding today often involves up to 20 applications, takes up to 34 weeks and costs USD 25,000 per client.


In addition to the high costs, complex and time consuming onboarding processes also increase abandonment rates. According to AITE, 5-15% of new customer applications are abandoned before onboarding is complete. The potential losses associated with account abandonment of a particular product also includes the revenue associated with any future products that client might have needed. Onboarding inefficiencies thus lead to delay in time to revenue, customer dissatisfaction and a decreased share of wallet.


Clearly it has become imperative for banks to deliver a better experience by reducing the overall onboarding time and making the establishment of a new transaction banking relationship more streamlined and less arduous. Providing a seamless, multichannel digital onboarding process could be a good place to start. In fact, McKinsey has calculated that banks and credit unions can realize 40-90% cost reductions through the careful deployment of workflow tools and digital onboarding capabilities for customers and staff.


There are 4 key areas that banks could focus on to ensure a frictionless onboarding experience for their corporate customers:


  1. Going Digital Is More Than Online And Mobile: Sophisticated interfaces are expected by today’s customers, but many bank processes continue to maintain wet signatures, and are powered by manual and paper-based workflows. This results in bankers being unable to efficiently address customer questions about process status and tasks completed. Eliminating disconnected, manual processes in favor of an integrated, automated and streamlined system helps increase transparency and provides a single view of the customer. It also helps to reduce the time taken to onboard new customers with the provision of pre-filled forms, while minimizing errors and increasing data quality.
  1. Serving Customers When, Where and How They Prefer: The banks’ digital transformation will make it easy for their customers to bank anytime, using their preferred channel or device. According to Avoka, corporate customers can only apply for 24% of banking products online and 9% on mobile today. There is a serious opportunity here since offering products across multiple channels will ensure increasing product sales and customer retention. Through omni-channel capabilities, save-and-resume functionality and a responsive web design, banks can provide a frictionless experience to their customers by allowing them to start their onboarding process in one channel and finish it off in another.

Lisbon-based online bank Banco BNI Europa has recently introduced an account opening process that encompasses video-conferencing with digital certification for document exchange. The users first enter their personal data and upload relevant documentation and then have a video conference with a remote operator for step for identity certification, post which the certified signature of the documents will be executed.


  1. Only Asking Questions Once: In the absence of integrated information, customers end up providing the same information to their banks again and again. Some banks are installing end-to-end, integrated transaction banking platforms where the customer details are only needed to be entered once during the onboarding process. For any future product onboarding, the system imports the customer information entered during the previous onboarding along with the basic information from the core banking solution.

The best solutions also provide a configurable template creation feature to the banks which allows them to group selected product offerings into a single screen for faster setup. The banks are able to group already configured setups and hence can onboard their customers faster.


Banks are also considering the use of blockchain to provide a single, consolidated view of all KYC corporate client data that can be leveraged by all financial institutions across the chain. Corporate customers need to be on-boarded onto a blockchain network only once, as once their banking profile is on the network, other participating institutions can subscribe to that profile. According to Synechron, on an average, a large bank with 100,000+ clients spends up to $100 million yearly on KYC and client onboarding.  Blockchain could ensure savings of more than $50 million here. Bengaluru-based Signzy has already developed blockchain and AI-based solutions to digitally identify, verify, and authenticate customers. Its onboarding solution, Real KYC, has now been deployed by more than 45 financial institutions.


  1. Personalizing Customers’ Experiences

Predictive analytics can be used to provide insights around where customers spend time, make errors, or abandon their sessions. This gives financial institutions the data they need to accelerate new account openings. Some banks have started using AI to create a frictionless and expedited onboarding process. For example, Amelia, an artificial intelligence platform, is supporting Nordic Bank, Nordnet’s new customers through the entire onboarding process. Financial institutions can also use AI to improve the personalization of offers and communication as part of onboarding and cross-selling. AI-powered chat bots can answer basic questions faster, automate repetitive or commonly recurring customer requests and perform other service tasks at fast speeds.



As banks focus on becoming the principal bank of their corporate customers, they need to keep their customers happy and loyal. A good start would be to make their onboarding process simple, flexible and agile along with ensuring a consistent customer experience across both in person and self-service channels. To achieve this market leaders are moving to modern solutions that are easy to use, provide comprehensive functionality and end-to-end tools. More importantly market leaders recognize that the business requirements are changing so quickly that they need solutions powered by flexible, adaptable and expandable architectures that enable them to adapt quickly to changing requirements and at the same time ensure swift, cost-effective and frictionless onboarding for their customers.

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About Nucleus

At Nucleus Software we are committed to providing efficient, modern yet proven software solutions for the global Banking and Financial Service industry. We have been pioneers in developing Retail Banking Software, Corporate Banking Solutions, Transaction Banking, Cash Management and Internet Banking Software since 1986. Our success spreads across more than 50 countries, and we serve our customers globally through our direct and partner operations across US, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. We are known for our world-class expertise and innovation in lending and transaction banking technology. Our two flagship products, built on the latest technology are: FinnOne™ and FinnAxia™.