Automating Client Onboarding in Commercial Banking

In the last year, the commercial banking market lost an estimated $3.3 trillion due to abandoned applications during onboarding. The reasons for this vary but are largely attributable to poor client onboarding experiences. Many banks continue to rely on manual processes that force potential customers to do too much legwork on their end and wait weeks or even months for a decision.

As the commercial banking industry becomes increasingly competitive, banks will need to focus on providing superior customer experiences. The client onboarding process is a key component of the overall banking experience and automation technologies are the means of getting there.

The client onboarding process in commercial banking

Client onboarding in commercial banking can be a drawn-out and costly process. According to research by Deloitte, the client onboarding process can take upwards of 16 weeks, with commercial banks investing as much as $20,000-$30,000 per client. The client onboarding process, as defined by Deloitte, consists of 8 steps:

  1. Soliciting and confirming new clients;
  2. Collecting account owner data;
  3. Validating client data;
  4. Establishing credit lines and limits;
  5. Legal due diligence;
  6. Setting up accounts;
  7. Tracking and archiving data; and
  8. Conducting ongoing reporting and analytics for both compliance and cross-selling purposes.

At most banks, each of these steps consists of manual processes that significantly slow down client onboarding. Replacing these manual tasks with automation technologies improves the onboarding experience, reduces costs, and improves commercial banks’ bottom lines.

Automation use cases in the onboarding process

There are dozens of components of the client onboarding process in commercial banking that can benefit from automation. The following are seven processes where many commercial banks are already using automation to transform the onboarding experience. 

Sales automation

Sales processes in commercial banks are notoriously inefficient. Not only do representatives spend most of their time on “non-selling” tasks, but banks have been resistant to leveraging customer data. Sales automation solutions give agents and advisors the tools that they need to succeed.

For instance, access to predictive analytics that guide agents on the best courses of action. Many commercial banks overlook one of their best assets – their existing customers. With sales automation, banks can identify cross-selling opportunities, driving up their revenue without a corresponding increase in marketing costs. 

Client due diligence

One of the most time-consuming and costly aspects of the client onboarding process is complying with increasingly stiff regulations. These include Customer Due Diligence (CDD), Know Your Customer (KYC), and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks. Failing to comply can result in huge fines and reputational damages.

With automation technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), banks can mitigate risk while improving the onboarding experience. Customers can upload required documentation directly into an online portal. The system automatically extracts relevant customer data and flags high-risk applications for further action.

Credit analysis

Traditionally, running a credit analysis required a bank employee to collect and manually input customer information. With automation, lenders can automatically extract and tabulate relevant financial data from things like tax returns and balance sheets. Lenders can also prescreen and score borrowers as well as provide immediate credit decisions.

Removing manual processes gives analysts more time to perform risk assessments. Moreover, automation reduces the occurrence of errors.

Account Opening

Commercial banking customers do not want to go into a local branch to open an account. They want to do everything online from the comfort of their own homes. Commercial banks are increasingly focusing on providing superior customer experiences. Potential banking customers utilize a variety of devices like PCs, tablets, and mobile devices.

With automation, banks can create a streamlined commercial account opening experience across all channels. Customers can start an application from their PC and complete it later on their tablet.  They can upload photos of onboarding documentation and check the status from their mobile device. Most importantly, clients are provided with lightning fast decisions.

Service Fulfillment

As commercial banks focus more and more on creating an outstanding banking client onboarding experience, they are using automation to improve fulfillment. Today’s banking customers are accustomed to modern conveniences like same-day deliveries and user-friendly applications. When it comes to banking their expectations are no different.

For instance, when opening a new checking account, the customer expects to receive a debit card in the mail within several days. By automating fulfillment processes like ordering and shipping debit cards, banks can provide services that are consistent with customer expectations.

Technical connectivity

Commercial bank employees use a variety of different software programs and applications in the client onboarding process. A lack of integration forces employees to manually enter data in disparate systems. Not only is this inefficient but it often results in costly errors.

With automation banks can integrate their systems to eliminate data silos. Moreover, stakeholders can access data in real-time to make informed decisions. Banks improve the client onboarding experience while significantly reducing costs and boosting productivity.


Manual account maintenance processes are costly and result in poor customer experiences. With automation, banks can provide customers more self-service options. Consider, for instance, a typical customer request like PIN activation or replacement. Call center agents can field hundreds or thousands of these requests in a given week. Yet with automated processes customers can activate or reset their PINS from their mobile devices or PCs. Security features like fingerprint or face recognition technology protect against fraud.

Commercial banks located all over the world are using ProcessMaker’s innovative low-code business process management (BPM) software to automate their processes. Learn how you can transform your client onboarding processes and offer superior customer experiences with ProcessMaker. 

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