Like you, I keep up on industry trends and industry news … and this one caught my eye.  Online account opening has gained pretty significant traction in the minds of consumers and already makes up a pretty good portion of all accounts that are opened at financial institutions.  Leading industry analysts like BAI are now predicting that in a mere 5 years half of all accounts will be opened online.  The chart below is an estimate of online account activity in 2009 – by age range:

The folks at creditunions.com have offered up this explanation of the graph – which makes a lot of sense …

‘Younger generations have a much stronger demand for the ability to open new checking and saving accounts online. The graph represents the percentage of individuals that have attempted to open an account online in the past year. This also includes those who had to abandon the process due to process not being fully automated, such as requiring the individual to mail in an application or visit a branch. BAI Banking Strategies estimates that by 2015, approximately 50% of all new accounts at financial institutions will be opened online.’

How much is fully automated?

Part of fiVISION’s business is to offer online enrollment & account opening solutions, so I do check credit union websites pretty often – and find out more often than not that the online offer is of the ‘print & mail’ variety.  In reaction, some of you may be thinking things like ‘We’re too small and can’t afford online account opening’ or ‘Our host processor does not support online account opening’ or ‘We’re keeping our expenses down and are not doing any projects right now’ as reasons you are not moving toward offering these services.

But read the analysis closely – the consumer is the judge of the level of automation – and the hurdle you need to meet is to make it so they don’t have to mail anything to you or visit one of your branches  In other words, make it so they can do it online from anywhere they want to at any time of day.  If you’d like some assistance on meeting that hurdle, give me a call.