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What do corporate treasurers want from the onboarding experience?

First impressions count – that's why the onboarding process is so important to the bank-corporate relationship, just as it is for retail customers. In the retail banking space, 54 per cent of financial institutions say a straightforward customer experience is essential – and this principle also holds true for corporate clients. However, the experience of corporate clients is less like a 20-minute online form-filling exercise and more like severals weeks or months, involving multiple forms and KYC requirements. With financial technology (fintech) companies now active in this field, banks are able to vastly improve this process. And they have much to gain by doing so, including better conversion rates, increased ability to sell other products and a faster route to creating revenue.

This article by Innopay outlines some of the pitfalls in the corporate onboarding process. These include:

  • fragmented processes over different channels (from paper forms, online applications, fax, email and human interaction);
  • lack of transparency in the process, with the client not knowing how the process works and how long it will take;
  • lack of internal coordination with repeated requests for data;
  • a lack of digitisation and automation; and
  • different ways of working in different countries, creating a burden for multinational customers.

As with the adoption of much financial technology usage, the corporates are following consumer habits. A report by Avoka shows that the consumer/retail onboarding experience is very different to that of corporates. So what do consumers currently expect and what should banks be aiming for in the corporate onboarding experience? Avoka suggests the following:

  • rather than leaving the client to fill out long forms, provide pre-population data fields where possible using customer relationship management (CRM) systems and appropriate third-party sources;
  • allow customers to 'save and resume' forms, even completing the onboarding process on different types of device (laptop or smartphone, for example);
  • personalise the process as far as possible for the client, with a designated relationship manager to help at any stage;
  • try to include third-party information on the client (such as for AML/KYC purposes) in an integrated way and make the process as streamlined as possible;
  • make account-opening integrated and consistent across different countries, so clients don't have to go through the same account-opening process in different countries.
  • use the data you collect to analyse the process and continue to improve the experience.

Of course the corporate onboarding experience is significantly more complex than onboarding a new consumer client but it's likely that banks will make use of fintech capabilities to improve the process and - eventually - the consumer ease-of-use is the model they will be aiming for.

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