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Retention and Growth – Building Stronger Account Relationships with Onboarding

Retention and Growth:

Background
A regional bank with more than 130 branches in two Western states began offering consumers the ability to open accounts online. However, the bank encountered challenges in terms of creating a centralized, automated mechanism for communicating with these new online customers in a reliable, efficient and relevant fashion. In addition, the bank saw a need to reduce overall new account attrition for all customers, whether online or in branch. The bank realized the importance of establishing a strong relationship with all customers, especially at the start of the customer life cycle and within the critical first 60 days.

Challenge
The bank, a long-term client of Harland Clarke, asked for a solution to help decrease overall new account attrition. At the same time, this solution needed to improve existing communication with new online customers, beginning with thanking them for their business. The ultimate goal was to better understand and meet each new customer’s banking needs. The solution also needed to facilitate the procurement of necessary print documentation, such as a signature card, for internet-based accounts.

Solution
Harland Clarke recommended implementation of its onboarding solution, an ongoing integrated process that builds long-term relationships by engaging new account holders and growing them into profitable and loyal account holders. Our onboarding solution allows for a multidimensional strategy that connects financial institutions with their account holders through multiple channels, delivering the right message at the right time.

Harland Clarke targeted both internet- and branch-based customers with deposit-related accounts such as checking, money market and savings. The next step was to devise a communication strategy based on the accounts each customer opened. The goals were to thank customers for their business, educate them about using their new accounts and suggest complementary products. For example, a new checking customer might be told about the benefits of adding a debit card, direct deposit or mobile banking. New online customers received a signature card that had to be signed and returned.

The onboarding program was launched with three separate direct mail communications. A welcome packet thanking new customers was mailed within seven days of account opening and included a signature card for online customers. This package was followed by two more mailings — one after 30 days and another at the 60-day mark. The content of each was highly relevant and engaging, and was tied directly to the type of account the customer opened.

The welcome letter came with a tear-off side coupon that offered products to complement the account. At 30 days and again at 60 days, a letter arrived in a standard business-sized envelope with a tear-off coupon at the bottom offering services to further engage the customer. The content for each was similar, with the 60-day letter communicating a somewhat stronger cross-sell message.

Results
Harland Clarke’s onboarding program produced a statistically significant account retention lift of 6.7 percent and household retention lift of 2.5 percent compared with a control group, as well as an average of 95 percent account retention for new customers. In addition, the program generated considerable increases in incremental balances and delivered a statistically significant balance retention lift of 6.4 percent.

The bank continues to aggressively support this program and is very pleased with both the results and its close collaboration with Harland Clarke. Plans call for expanding the onboarding effort to other lines of business, such as to new credit card holders and new small-business accounts.


Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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