Consumers still turning to branches to open new accounts

When it comes to opening new bank accounts, customers still tend to trust the branch over digital channels, according to a new study from Forrester Research.

While digital tools are areas of emphasis for major banks, the study points to the ongoing importance of a human touch.

Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults who regularly use the internet still go to a branch when opening a new checking account, the study observed. For savings accounts, 64% go to a branch, while 53% open certificates of deposit at branches. Alyson Clarke, a principal analyst at Forrester, told Bank Innovation that customers can’t learn digital account opening as easily as day-to-day mobile banking.

The data was drawn from two surveys. The first was fielded from October 2018 to January 2019. Forrester surveyed almost 48,000 Americans and more than 4,600 Canadians ages 18 to 88. The second survey was carried out from December 2017 to February 2018, for which the research firm surveyed 4,700 Americans and Canadians each, between the ages of 18 and 88.

According to Clarke, banks can successfully grow their deposits through a few key strategies, including training staff; referral channels; an easy account-opening experience; and data-driven marketing. “Digital strategies, such as attracting deposits through online search and comparison sites, as well as making it effortless to open and fund a deposit account, are just as crucial to driving deposit growth as strategies that support and align branch employees,” the study explained.

To read our analysis of the report, click here.