Survival of the Smoothest: Lengthy Onboarding Is No Longer Necessary

Survival of the Smoothest: Lengthy Onboarding Is No Longer Necessary

June 21, 2021

Let’s start by stating something we all know – we’re spoiled. Really, really spoiled. If a website doesn’t load in a split of a second, we grumble. If an app doesn’t catch our attention the first time we use it, it’s quickly uninstalled. If a website doesn’t appear on the first four results of the search engine, it might as well be on a different astral plane. Unless we suddenly ascend into a higher form of consciousness, we’ll simply never get to it.


Everything in our world has to work and work fast and flawlessly, or we’ll simply not use it. “Customer is King”, proclaims the early 20th century saying. A hundred years later, the customers are not only kings; they’re especially intolerant, impatient kings, offing the heads of websites and apps as if they were enemies of the crown.


All this, of course, doesn’t sit well with the fact that financial institutions are required to carry out a careful, meticulous, KYC/AML process. Who wants to read long lists of instructions and answer dozens of questions born in

Remonda Kirketerp-Møller

the minds of regulators ten thousand miles away, just to download another app or open another account? We open accounts on Google and Amazon and countless other websites all the time – two screens and you’re done. Who has patience for more than two screens?


Patience is gone, and the world of slow onboarding is disappearing as well. Financial institutions are getting rid of lengthy onboarding processes, even for extensive due diligence, replacing them with fast, fully-automated Straight-Through-Processes.  It’s “survival of the smoothest” – only the smoothest, easiest, most user-friendly KYC/AML onboarding process will win over today’s consumer. There’s only one winner in the battle for customer experience – and that’s whoever offers customers the same fast Straight-Through-Processes they’re used to from other online accounts or mobile apps. That’s the benchmark – other web services or providers, not just other financial institutions.


Of course, the customer is also right – a smooth KYC/AML onboarding process can indicate to the clients what kind of financial institution they’re dealing with: why should the client, for example, believe the financial institution is quick to respond to market changes when its onboarding process is slow? Or that it’s in tune with the latest trends, when it can’t keep up with, technologically, even governmental agencies?


That’s the harsh reality that financial institutions are dealing with right now. They’re no longer “just” financial institutions. They’re also mini tech-companies, online service providers, and therefore measure against other tech-companies and online service providers. In the mind of the consumer, an account is an account, an app is an app. And the same way customers won’t download a slow, non-user-friendly app; they won’t download the investment firm’s app. Or, in other words, they won’t onboard it onto their devices.


Like we said – financial institutions no longer onboard clients; clients onboard them.


Remonda Kirketerp-Møller is CEO and founder of Muinmos

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