By cutting more than half of the time it takes for customers to open a checking account online, U.S. Bank says it’s new streamlined platform, which it launched in August, has nearly tripled its digital checking account openings year-over-year.
"The biggest pain point we had in checking was actually the sheer length of time it took to get through the application itself," said Jonathan Burns, senior vice president and head of digital sales experience at U.S. Bank. "It was taking customers 10 minutes to get through this application, and that's just way too long."
Burns said the bank set out to cut its average account opening time in half by grouping common questions in its application and eliminating requests for unnecessary information.
"We actually shortened it by nearly two-thirds," Burns said.
Changes to the platform include pre-filling information for existing customers who may be applying for a new product, as well as using Google type-ahead in applications for new customers.
The bank, which declined to share exact figures related to the 200% growth in digital account openings, acknowledged that it launched the platform amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has likely spurred more customers to open accounts digitally.
But Ankit Bhatt, U.S. Bank’s executive vice president and consumer chief digital officer, said the A/B testing of the bank's new platform has shown it has helped stem the abandonment rate in the bank’s digital account opening process.
"Regardless of whether 1,000 people are visiting or 10,000 people are visiting, we are trying to increase the number of people that make it through the funnel and apply," Bhatt said. "And because of this new, more streamlined process, we actually ended up getting substantially higher submit rates."
U.S. Bank built the platform in-house over six weeks with an emphasis on reusability, Burns said, using micro-frontend architecture.
"Think about Lego blocks," Burns said. "One of the Lego blocks might be the address entry screen for the customer. We build it in the right way, with things like Google type-ahead and various other components and we can take the same Lego block, and we can deploy it across multiple journeys. ... It allows us to build a digital product once, and then we can quickly scale it across the company multiple times."
The platform has expanded to U.S. Bank’s State Farm partnership, as well as its business checking and personal line-of-credit products, the bank said.
The platform also lets bankers "co-browse" or screen share with customers during the account opening process, and offers a "text to apply" capability that sends a customer a short-code link to apply for a particular product.
U.S. Bank still believes customers value human connection in financial services, despite an intensified focus on digital platform enhancement, Bhatt said.
"As we come out of this pandemic, customers will continue to use digital, but when that moment is there, when they need a human, we’ll be able to connect them to a human being," he said. "That’s our approach in terms of how we're thinking about digital and that human connection."