“Social distancing” and “self-isolating” may have only entered into daily usage less than three years ago, but the transition to conducting our financial and economic activities without ever leaving our homes began well before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2010, only about $165 billion worth of retail purchases in the U.S. were made over the internet. By 2020, that number had risen to more than $860 billion. Amazon alone saw its yearly sales increase over ten times in the same period. More and more customers have grown accustomed to being able to run their errands on their schedule and prefer access to digital account opening in retail branches.

Mobile banking apps have also made it possible for consumers to conduct most of their banking activities via their phones. And if there’s anything they can’t do simply by opening their bank’s app, over 80% of them wish that they could. Technology has made people more independent, and customers would prefer to solve their problems on their own without the help of a customer service representative, like access to digital account opening options in retail branches. Unfortunately, many banks are failing to keep up with the demand for customer self-sufficiency, and those who haven’t improved their digital solutions are starting to see themselves fall behind those who have.

Retail Banking

Retail banking is another term for consumer banking or personal banking. This is a separate service from corporate banking, although many institutions do handle both. Retail banking allows individual customers to manage their money, access credit securely, and make deposits. At a retail bank, citizens can conduct traditional banking activities such as opening checking and savings accounts, applying for mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards, and receiving deposit receipts.

Retail banks may be local community organizations, or they may be branches of larger national banks. In either case, retail banking aims to be a secure, one-stop location for individuals to take care of all their personal financial needs. While they once were the dominant institution in this market, they are starting to face stiff competition from fintech companies, many of which offer the same services but are completely digital. In order to retain their current customers, and maintain hope for attracting new ones, it is vital for traditional retail banks of all sizes to make the transition to offering well-rounded mobile and online services.

The Demand for Self-Service

Remember the statistic that 80% of customers would prefer more self-service options when it comes to their banking? 95% of banks said that they noticed a marked increase in customer demand for self-service technology but when surveyed, executives at banks across the country thought that number was closer to 60%. This demonstrates the disconnect between the need of self-service options, and awareness of this need in financial institutions. On average, the demand for these services increased by 37% between 2020 and 2021.

While it is clear that more than half of the population wants to be able to manage their finances without having to interact with a bank employee, a 20% gap between perceived demand and actual demand indicates that banks do not fully understand how highly they should be prioritizing the addition of more self-service options in their service offerings. Banking may be an essential service, but it is still a consumer market. When one vendor fails to meet market demands, customers look for other options that will fulfill their needs. Exposure to this type of potential loss of customers doesn’t just stunt a financial institution’s growth but can endanger the sustainability of the entire company.

Which Banks Are Growing, Which Are Falling Behind?

Almost 32% of the population—especially Gen Z “digital natives” who have come of age in recent years—prefer to avoid brick-and-mortar branches and conduct all their banking digitally. Between 25%-30% of customers between the ages of 21 and 41 have their primary checking account at a digital bank, and even 22% of consumers aged 42-56 have made the switch to fully digital banking solutions. The numbers are clear, financial institutions that provide digital services will continue to gain customers, while those who are resistant to fully digital solutions will continue to lose customers.

What does self-serve mean vs. traditional banking?
Self-serve vs. traditional banking is the difference between a customer’s ability to be fully self-sufficient in a retail branch or having to wait for a customer service representative in order to conduct their banking tasks. With in-branch self-service options, customers should be able to conduct all their banking like opening checking and savings accounts, applying for mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards, and receiving deposit receipts without needing to speak to anyone.

Traditional banking requires speaking to a representative and is subject to lengthy paper-based processes, or busy lineups. Offering in-branch self-serve options can help customers that choose to conduct their business in-branch have the option of skipping lengthy line-ups and being more self-sufficient with their banking, but continuing to have the option for representative support if needed.



The IgniteConnex Solution

One way to jumpstart your institution’s transition to digital services is to provide an easy, efficient way for your customers to open a new account via digital means without ever having to contact a customer representative for help.

With IgniteConnex’s banker-designed digital account opening solution, you can say goodbye to time-consuming costly paper-based processes, and provide your customers with a quick, secure account opening experience. To learn more about IgniteConnex and start revolutionizing your financial institution today, schedule a demo with one of our representatives.

Nobody starts a business with the intention of only being around for a few years. As our world becomes increasingly digital, any company hoping to compete must keep up with constantly changing technology, and that includes financial institutions. More and more customers are doing the majority of their banking online, and many financial institutions are struggling to stay ahead of the curve. A digital transformation is one key to making sure your institution is still doing business five years from now.

Downward Trend in Bank Numbers

Over the past 30 years, the number of FDIC-insured institutions in the United States has plummeted at a precipitous rate. Since 1989, the number of banks has dropped from 14,469 to 4,236—a decrease of more than ten thousand closures. The average annual decline in the number of FDIC-insured banks has been 3.86% for the past decade. At this rate, the number of banks will be cut in half in the next 20 years, and by the 2080s, there could be as few as 450 FDIC-insured banks left in the country.

Small banks are far more likely to be victims of these closures than large banks. Banks with more than $100 billion in assets make up only 1% of the total banks in the United States but hold about 70% of the industry’s total assets. Meanwhile, only about one-third of small banks—those that hold less than $10 billion in assets– that existed in 1990 are still in operation. Mid-sized banks have seen both their assets and insured deposits decline by around 70% as well.

Branch Closures vs. Banking Access

It was once assumed that smaller banks would be able to compete with larger banks because of their more intimate connections with the communities in which they operate. But in 2020, spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, many brick-and-mortar bank branches, including branches of large national banks, closed. While there was initial concern that this might create bank deserts—sections of the country without a bank within commuting distance—the American Bankers Association found that rural, low-income neighborhoods were more likely to have a local banking branch than affluent urban and suburban communities.

As online and mobile banking has become more widespread, the demand for in-person banking has fallen sharply. It no longer makes sense for banks to spend the overhead on staffing and maintaining multiple brick-and-mortar locations in the same location when most of their customers conduct the majority of their transactions on their mobile devices.

The Appeal of Digital Banking

Many banks were forced to shut down their in-person operations in March of 2020 when lockdown restrictions went into place, but the transition away from in-person banking was already well underway. Mobile banking provides more convenience. To visit a bank in person, a customer needs to find time in their schedule between work, errands, housekeeping, and social engagements. They then must commute to the bank, wait for a banker to be available, fill out paperwork, and then drive to their next appointment or back home.

With digital banking, customers have 24/7 access to their bank from anywhere they go. They can complete transactions, account openings, and more on their schedule. A well-designed digital onboarding system also requires less paperwork. Instead of needing to provide an ID for verification, customers can access their accounts with just a fingerprint or face scan.

What is a Digital Transformation?

A digital transformation is a fairly straightforward concept—transforming the way your financial institution operates to rely on more digital processes and emerging technologies. This isn’t as simple as turning your existing applications into fillable web forms and adding more computers to your office. A true digital transformation will require institutions to completely redesign the way they operate while seamlessly integrating all existing data.

What does digital transformation mean for financial institutions?

A digital transformation in financial institutions will include new technologies that use advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence, robust cybersecurity and privacy features, and an online customer experience optimized for ease and efficiency.

As digital banking becomes more widespread, hackers and other bad actors have more opportunities to commit fraud. To protect your institution and your customers, banks will need advanced cybersecurity protocols on both the backend and front end of their systems. Enhanced data analytics will help financial institutions profile customers and quickly and accurately determine how they will behave. Artificial intelligence can then use that data to automatically generate products, responses, or solutions for the customer.

Remaining Competitive

Customers need to be able to easily complete several common banking operations quickly and efficiently—transferring money, scheduling bill payments, making deposits, and opening accounts—from their phones or tablets. Financial institutions’ mobile applications and websites should put the user experience first. Designing a program that is intuitive, easy to navigate, and does not require extraneous information will help financial institutions make their services convenient and easily accessible to users. It should also be easy for customers to access support when they need it. The future of customer-facing business technologies is in figuring out what the customer wants or needs and giving it to them as quickly as possible. Going digital in an accessible and user-friendly manner is one of the keys to ensuring your business remains relevant in the next five years.

Key Takeaways:

The IgniteConnex Solution

IgniteConnex provides a secure, user-friendly digital account opening technologies designed by bankers for bankers. We can help kickstart financial institutions’ digital transformation by enhancing the account application and approval process for new customers. Schedule a Demo to learn more!

The introduction of the smartphone has changed the way we do just about everything—including banking. Back in 2015, a Novantas Digital Banking Report showed that a staggering 79% of consumers preferred to use their mobile app to check their bank account balance. The COVID-19 pandemic has only helped to push customers towards doing even more of their banking completely from their smartphones—including opening new accounts.

According to a survey of almost 2,500 US consumers conducted by Aite Group, financial institutions saw their volume of digital applications increase two- or three-fold in 2020. However, research from the NEURO-ID Friction Index Report 2019 showed that more than half of users leave a digital application without selecting an offer or product.

When it comes to digital account opening, success isn’t measured by how many people start an application, but by how many finish the application, open an account, and start banking with you.

How Does Digital Account Opening Help?

The modern consumer doesn’t have time to complete the lengthy paperwork and identity verification that a traditional bank account application requires. When your bank or credit union employs digital account opening solutions to automate the process, you increase the likelihood that customers will not only start the account opening process but complete it.

Here are 4 ways you can optimize your digital account opening process to increase your chances of success

1. Design a Mobile-first Experience

The problem with many digital account opening programs is that they are modified from old paper applications. The result is a lengthy process that requires consumers to enter all their information manually. Today’s smartphones are built for speed and convenience; it is more cumbersome to type a lot of information on a smartphone keyboard than it is to type on a computer or write by hand. The appeal of digital account opening should be convenience.

If your customers are going to spend as much, or more, time entering information into the mobile app than they would applying by any other method, digital account opening becomes a highly inefficient means of opening a new account. Smartphone screens are much smaller than laptop displays or standard-sized paper applications. Your mobile app should reformat the application process to make it easier to read and fill out on a smaller screen.

An effective digital account opening program should be able to capture data automatically—either from saved information or optical character recognition (OCR) of a scanned file—and populate it in the correct field. Instead of copying the format of a paper application, mobile applications should be streamlined so they are more easily readable on a phone screen.

2. Support Easy Ways to Validate and Verify Identity

OCR is the ability for a phone camera to scan a document and render what is written on it into typed characters in digital form. Digitally verifying identity used to be done one of two ways—either the customer would have to enter all of their information by hand, or they could submit a picture that would then have to be reviewed and accepted. Neither allowed for instant validation.

With OCR, the customer can take a picture of their identification, upload it to the form, and then the computer can read and verify the information with third-party sources immediately. Including a section for document or photo upload in your application helps your customers complete your application quicker and more easily.

3. Ask Only Essential Questions

Streamline the application process so customers don’t feel like they’re wasting time. Ask for only the bare minimum of information you need for your customer to open a new account. And, try to make the application questions ones they can answer without leaving your app. If the applicant has to leave the application, you increase the risk that they won’t come back to finish it. Your customers are also more likely to trust your institution if you are not asking them for excessive amounts of personal information.

4. Identify Points of Friction

The best way to improve your digital account opening conversions is to study how customers interact with your personal application. A careful analysis of when customers who abandon the application process chose to abandon it, can reveal critical information about which parts of your account opening process need to be adjusted. If there are any steps of the process where you see consistently high rates of customers leaving the application and not coming back, see how you can either streamline that section or consider removing it entirely.

The IgniteConnex Promise

When you partner with IgniteConnex, you’ll partner with a team of experienced banking professionals with a wealth of experience who understand your institution’s goals, as well as the challenges you face. Our team is committed to helping you develop a scalable, cost-effective, end-to-end digital account opening solution that will help you grow.

Ready to learn more about how we can optimize your digital account opening? Schedule a Discovery Meeting today to get started!

Key TakeAways:

Traditional banks and financial institutions have long controlled all aspects of the financial world. From opening a simple checking or savings account to applying for a loan. Due to their size and entrenchment in the financial system, larger banking institutions have been resistant to the rise of Fintech. Given their resources, larger banks have been quick to pivot to the fully digital financial environment and continue to offer both digital and in person account opening options. This has helped digital-only financial alternatives gain ground against traditional smaller banking institutions by offering banking and financial consumers a faster, hassle-free banking process. 75.4% of the population has been using digital banking services since 2021.

Today’s consumer is not only comfortable conducting financial business online, most actually prefer a completely digital banking experience. The latest banking statistics compiled by Statista report that in 2022 more than 65% of banking customers in the US, conduct at least some portion of their banking online. With banking consumers clearly making the pivot to online and digital banking solutions. Financial institutions that are able to offer a more streamlined digital account opening solution are going to be in a position to attract more customers.

How Can An IgniteConnex Digital Account Opening Solution Help You

In the past decade, the rise of Fintech has changed the way that we think about banking. Opening a new bank account was once a complicated, time-consuming, and at times, frustrating process that required several face to face meetings, and a number of employees across several departments analyzing, tracking, and managing a mountain of documents. Today, digital account opening solutions like IgniteConnex make it quick, and easy to onboard new customers, and give online banks, and other alternative financial institutions, a quick and efficient online account opening solution.

Traditional Account Opening

Opening a traditional checking or savings account often means the potential banking customer needs to leave their home or office, and travel to the bank one or multiple times. Sometimes, this requires meeting not only with a banking account onboarding representative, but also other account management staff to review account opening details, discuss needs and options, and present various forms of identification and documentation for account opening approval. This process is not only complicated, but also time-consuming. It can be frustrating for the potential customer, not to mention labor-intensive and costly for the financial institution. Other costs involved include supply costs, data management and tracking, scanning items, staff resources, and more.

IgniteConnex Digital Account Opening Solution

In contrast, digital account opening solutions, like the ones offered to financial institutions by IgniteConnex, make the process of opening an account quicker, easier, and far more pleasant for the prospective banking customer. They provide a more efficient, and much more cost-effective onboarding solution for the bank or financial institution.

The IgniteConnex digital account opening solution allows prospective banking customers to enter their information, provide identification and documentation, and complete the account opening process completely from the comfort of their own home or office. It takes a matter of minutes, rather than the hours, or even days required by traditional account opening procedures.


By implementing a digital account opening solution like IgniteConnex, banks, credit unions, and other financial service providers are able to onboard new customers much faster, with fewer steps, and fewer staff. This helps to level the playing field and allows banks, and financial institutions who are willing and able to adopt new digital account opening technology, a chance to efficiently onboard new clients and remain competitive.

Are you ready to learn more about how a digital account opening solution can level the playing field and help your bank or credit union gain a competitive edge over the larger banks? Schedule a discovery meeting with the team of experts at IgniteConnex to get started today!

Key Takeaways:


Why Digital Account Opening Should Be a Focus

Let’s start with the opportunities you’re potentially missing out on if you’re not utilizing Digital Account Opening in your financial institution. Many businesses won’t even consider using a bank or credit union if they don’t offer online account opening (OAO) even if they have no need for the service. In a study by Kabbage, 21% of consumers and small business leaders cited wanting to use an online banking service as the reason for moving to a new banking institution.

Additionally the article states that “nearly one-third (32%) of small business leaders said they’ve changed financial services providers in 2021, and of the remaining 68% who haven’t changed providers, 26-27% said they intend to change their personal and business checking accounts in the next six months, respectively.” While this might sound like a disaster for small institutions that are still working on their digital solutions, it’s actually a huge opportunity to capitalize on this section of the market that is openly admitting to looking for better options for their banking than their current bank can provide.

Pandemic Effects on Company Digitization

We’re all aware that the pandemic threw the world into a tailspin. It also pushed companies across the world to hurriedly finish, or begin onboarding clients through online services. Banks and credit unions are not alone in feeling the rush to stay afloat in the economy as it shifted to digital solutions.

Forbes references studies that show the rising trend in digital account opening overtaking in-branch applications as far back as the first quarter in 2019. This is especially true for secondary checking account openings, which can be a major factor for smaller financial institutions in competing for relevance. Additionally, Statista shows the growing trend of digital banking use hitting over 60% of the population since before 2018. The need for banking institutions to provide online banking experiences is here to stay, not just as an emergency reaction to the pandemic.

How Does IgniteConnex Allow Community Banking and Credit Unions to Remain Competitive?

IgniteConnex offers a streamlined, configurable process that is convenient for both customers and staff. It speeds up the account opening process for consumers and business accounts, allowing your institution to serve more customers in less time. Additionally, it integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and infrastructure, making it easy to implement and use. IgniteConnex chooses to provide affordable digital account opening software to small financial institutions. They provide expert teams highly experienced in the financial sector.

Competing with major banking institutions that have digital resources and even mobile banking superiority can feel like a losing battle. If you’re feeling at-a-loss as you steadily watch shrinking deposit revenue and struggle to stay relevant in this ever-digitized environment, you’re not alone! The ongoing fight to take back banking and provide affordable, scalable, and person-first solutions is hugely popular. IgniteConnex provides a team of experts with years of field experience. They help you engage with your company’s values while still providing banking customers with the solutions that they need.

IgniteConnex Provides Digital Account Opening with a Number of Benefits for Small Financial Institutions.

If you run a financial institution that offers digital account opening, IgniteConnex can be a valuable tool for you. Here are the top 5 benefits of offering Digital Account Opening with IgniteConnex:

  1. Efficiency
    IgniteConnex offers a streamlined, paperless process that is convenient for both customers and staff. Speeding up the digital account opening process allows your institution to serve more customers in less time. IgniteConnex effectively reduces onboarding time by 90%. This also helps bank staff take a step back from lengthy and arduous hard copy files. Additionally, it takes pressure off of clients to provide endless information at multiple points. This increased efficiency also helps lower the risk for errors which leads to significant cost savings for your company.
  2. Competitive Edge
    Saving time and money allows your institution to continue focussing on what it does best. IgniteConnex is the fast and efficient way to implement digital account opening, with accounts being available for use in a matter of minutes. They also provide experts to assist your small financial institution access digital software without having to invest in staffing a whole new department.
  3. Highly Integrable and Configurable
    IgniteConnex easily connects to your existing legacy systems. Seamless integration with existing systems and infrastructure is one of the major concerns with advancing digital account onboarding. IgniteConnex makes it easy to implement and use, as well as configure and integrate with your legacy systems. So you can get started without breaking the bank.
  4. Secure and Encrypted
    Client information is always safe and secure with IgniteConnex. They use the latest encryption technology to protect your data (AICPA-certified and SOC2 compliant with continuous compliance automation by Vanta.com). Secure, compliant, and multiple data tools and sources used in digital account opening actively reduce fraud. You can be confident that digital account opening is a safer option for you and your clients.
  5. Happier Customers
    Meet customers where they’re at, and keep your institution up to their standards. Digital account opening can lead to happier customers who are more likely to recommend your company to others. Not only are you providing the online experience that the market is demanding, but you’re also freeing up time to allow your institution to shine in what it does best – customer experience.

Banks and credit unions have always been the leaders in providing consumers with personalized needs. Digital account opening is one of those items that has become ubiquitous in the industry. Just like unlimited call time for cell phone providers, most next gen customers will barely use their phones to call people. If available plans only suggest a limited amount of minutes the company is seen as outdated and backwards. By just having the service available, it will increase the likelihood that they’ll choose your company over a competitor.

Our Promise:

When you partner with IgniteConnex, you’ll work with a team of former banking professionals who understand your challenges and goals, and are committed to deploying a scalable, cost effective, end-to-end onboarding solution that will deliver the digital efficiencies customers have come to expect.

If you’re looking for a digital account opening solution that will streamline your processes and improve your customer service, IgniteConnex is the right choice for you. Schedule a Discovery Meeting with us today to get started.

Key Takeaways:

The banking industry is changing, but financial institutions are still catching up and some traditional inefficient ways of doing things still remain. Customer onboarding experiences depend on personal interactions with staff members who use heavily manual tasks that take up valuable time for both parties involved. That means customers still have to go to the physical locations, complete forms, submit IDs, etc. This can be inconvenient, and time-consuming for businesses, and customers, trying to take their banking online. Online customer onboarding has both risks and opportunities for financial institutions.


It is important to mention both the potential risks involved with online customer onboarding for financial institutions and the solutions. This section will explain those risks and opportunities and help you to see why IgniteConnex is the perfect solution to help your financial institution make the switch to an online onboarding process.


For financial institutions, the opportunities for doing online customer onboarding far outweigh the risks.


In any business, automated processes help to make the overall experience seamless and efficient. Such is the case with online customer onboarding for financial institutions. Having automated processes in place can make the process quicker compared to traditional methods that dealt with paper documents. First, there’s the process of having to print out the documentation for the customer, the process of obtaining appropriate signatures, and then the time it takes to manually store these documents. Automating your onboarding process makes everything easier, as everything is digitized, including the signature, and everything is stored in the cloud. That saves your company time and overhead costs (printing).

With that said, in-person onboarding can take hours or days to complete. In some cases, it can be a multi-tiered process requiring more than one trip to your financial institution. Some customers find themselves having to make multiple trips to the bank before they are officially onboarded, due to all the information the bank needs. In most cases, a customer can have an active account through the online onboarding process within 24 hours.

Increased Revenue

When you improve efficiency, you improve your customer service time overall. That allows for more customers to be serviced over time. More customers opening accounts in your bank means more revenue for your bank. Also, in-person onboarding can be more costly for the bank due to the inefficient and outdated process like paper form filing, scanning, gathering of info, documentation, etc., whereas online onboarding is not as time consuming, nor costly.

Customer Convenience

Most bank hours don’t work for the full-time worker or business. With online account opening, the service is automated and available for your customers around the clock. That means convenient banking that fits the client’s schedule.


Onboarding is the essential welcoming process through which an individual becomes a bank customer. When the process is safe and convenient, it can help the financial institution meet its goals for growth and revenue. The onboarding process initially consists of two main components: Know Your Customer (KYC) and the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) framework.

Knowing your customer is part of the KYC framework. Not only is this the key to building relationships, but banks have to do their due diligence to identify and verify all customers. The screening process can be pretty thorough and is the reason why the onboarding process is so lengthy for some customers. Going through the appropriate channels to ensure no political or criminal risks are at play is not always easy or secure to do using an online process.

Financial institutions are not only concerned with terrorism but also drug and human trafficking, tax evasion, corruption, and smuggling. The bank’s due diligence helps protect the bank from fraudulent activities. IgniteConnex provides integrations to KYC and AML vendors as part of the seamless onboarding process, with the settings and rules defined by the Financial Institutions.

The Perfect Solution

Many financial institutions will say that the onboarding experience is the most crucial part of the business. Given that today’s consumers expect their bankers to know them, and understand them, it is easy to see why onboarding is so essential. Take away the one-on-one, face-to-face experience and you miss the opportunity to build an essential relationship with your customer. But what if there is a way to get that and stay compliant with an online customer boarding process? If you don’t choose the right vendor, a bad experience unsells your customer. So, it’s extremely important to choose the right vendor for your online customer onboarding needs, and that can be a challenge. That’s why you need to know about IgniteConnex.


IgniteConnex offers a streamlined, configurable process that is convenient for both customers and staff. It speeds up the account opening process for consumers and business accounts, allowing your institution to serve more customers in less time. Additionally, it integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and infrastructure, making it easy to implement and use. Staying compliant with online customer onboarding just got easier with IgniteConnex. Digital solutions offer a better experience for the customer and benefit the financial institution in multiple ways.

IgniteConnex is a leader in fraud protection and prevention for digital customer onboarding services. Click here to learn more.

Key Takeaways:

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