“What is the reason for customers having friction with the online account opening process? It’s not a streamlined process. It is very cumbersome and not user-friendly.” -Jordan Ennest

Be honest. Do you read the terms and conditions before checking the “I agree” box? If you’re like most people, that’s a big NO. You just scroll past it.

Yet compliance is one of the strongest forces in banking. People care about things like the interest rate and monthly fees, so it’s frustrating for them to squint at all that tiny text on their phone screens.

Jordan Ennest understands their frustrations. She’s the product specialist and counsel for Compliance Systems LLC, which specializes in regulatory platforms and document management. Below, she shares her insights about this issue. 

Face it, First Impressions are Everything

If you work for a financial brand, you may not be familiar with the financial industry’s abandoned application statistics.

They’re not pretty. 

Between 65% and 85% of new account applications are abandoned. For loans, it can be as high as 95%. This means we’re generally converting fewer than one-third of potential new customers, and in some cases, only a small handful.

Another way to frame it is that we’re losing millions and millions of dollars in loans and deposits. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.

Even worse, we’re losing these potential customers due to small things like the fine print on our forms. Nobody wants to scroll through 2,000 words of extremely small text before doing business with you. 

Still, compliance is an important part of the banking business that can’t be eliminated.

So how can financial brands resolve this sticky issue? 

The Benefits of Frictionless Fine Print

At Compliance Systems LLC, Jordan and her team have found a way to take the friction out of compliance in banking. To create it, they first looked at why financial institutions were experiencing such high abandonment rates. They examined feedback from customers showing irritation with the account opening process.

Essentially, what they were seeing is that banks don’t acknowledge how people browse the web today. Most new customers do everything from their phones. They’re trying out a new bank from the same phone where they’ll check their account balances later, so they’re testing whether they’ll enjoy banking with you.

Unfortunately, their first experience is often cumbersome and off-putting. They have to pinch and zoom in to read things on the bank’s smartphone-unfriendly website. The process is slow and filled with banking lingo. The entire experience feels old-fashioned.

Another obstacle involves PDFs. Not all devices have PDF readers and not all customers even want to mess with PDFs. This is in direct conflict with many banks still using PDFs as their primary digital document delivery solution.

Instead, think about how airlines and entertainment venues have solved this problem. They don’t say, “Download this PDF to continue.” Instead, they offer a mobile-friendly format that promotes readability and portability. It’s easy to proceed with the customer voyage.

Better Alignment and Integration

Banks can provide a better customer experience when they devote the same care to their digital offerings as they give their in-person offerings. Online customers often have a very different - and more negative - experience than people who walk into bank branches.

This is why Jordan recommends finding better alignment across the financial institution. Review your roadmap and pay close attention to areas where there is a lack of alignment or consistency in things like the company vision, the strategic goals, and how they dovetail with the customer experience.

Alignment also comes from simply listening more closely to your customers. This doesn’t have to involve huge, expensive research studies. Just ask your customers about their experiences and really listen to their feedback.

Consider whether you have the best partnerships in place to accomplish your digital goals. Compliance Systems builds close relationships with its partners to ensure that every solution is the right fit. It’s the kind of fintech relationship that’s truly transformative and productive.

Being proactive is a key part of the transformation process. Compliance Systems lives by the saying, “If you haven’t implemented now what’s going to be relevant in two years, three years, or five years, you’re already behind.”

Compliance, Competitive Threats, and True Transformation

Jordan joined the banking world from a place you might not expect: the legal world. She’s an attorney by training. This has given her a knack for analyzing the compliance aspect of banking and methodically brainstorming solutions.

One of the biggest pitfalls she’s seen in banking compliance is the tendency to push certain technology on consumers whether they want it or not. This creates a competitive vulnerability because it’s easy for someone to switch to a competitor who’s using better, more intuitive tech.

To address this issue, keep people at the center of everything you’re doing and choosing for your digital offerings. Jordan recommends asking a key question: What’s your internal architecture, and do you have the processes to transition from traditional banking to a fully digital customer experience?

Never forget that digital transformation takes a shift in mindset. Become a person and an organization that’s always asking questions and genuinely learning from the feedback. This is what it takes to survive in the future of the financial services space.