The Case for Onboarding: A Timely Way to Help Financial Institutions Build Loyalty

Technology continues to eliminate face-to-face contact and cross-sell opportunities. With the proliferation of online account opening platforms, now is the time for a formal onboarding process.

Challenges of the past few years have changed how consumers view their primary financial institutions. Loyalty is harder to come by these days. According to the 2011 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Survey by J.D. Power and Associates, more people are willing to switch their PFIs, more financial institutions are being considered in the PFI selection process, and more consumers are turning to non-PFIs for additional banking products they may need. It seems the days of checking accounts making for “sticky” PFIs may be numbered.

But that’s not necessarily true for financial institutions with effective onboarding programs. These institutions are seeing real success in building stronger, deeper relationships with new members from the first day of opening an account.

Onboarding involves introducing new members to your credit union during their early weeks or months of membership. Part educational and part promotional, the process helps your members see the full value of your credit union. When done effectively, the results show higher retention rates, broader product usage and lower servicing costs.

So how are these effective financial institutions doing it? The key is using well-planned, sustained and value-driven email messages. The most common timeframe for an onboarding program is 90 days to six months. Included among the elements of successful onboarding practices are:

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