Reducing the Friction of Member Onboarding

credit union member onboardingMembers not only compare their onboarding experience with that of other credit unions and banks but to their experience in other industries as well. Companies large and small are focusing on the User eXperience (UX) to create a frictionless process. Member expectations are high, and if they experience roadblocks in the onboarding process they will lose confidence in the credit union. In some cases, they might abandon the credit union altogether for another financial institution that has a more seamless onboarding experience. In the credit union industry today, it is more important than ever to nurture relationships and demonstrate value during the onboarding process. Here are 3 ways you can create a frictionless member onboarding experience.


Digital onboarding kits will allow your credit union to personalize the experience for new members. Sending information packets through direct mail can take several days, and in that time, members are left waiting for information about their new account. Many credit unions today send personalized onboarding kits instantly, via email, for members who open their account online, or shortly after they have opened the account for those who apply in person. Some FIs have even begun to offer completely customized video onboarding through platforms like SundaySky, which are expected to become more popular in the years to come.

Channel Options and Crossover

Offering applications on a multitude of channels will help increase applications rates. If applications are available on computers, mobile phones, tablets, and in-branch, the needs of a variety of members will be met. The busy Millennial can apply on their train to work, meanwhile, an elderly applicant who is unfamiliar with technology can still apply in-branch with the help of a member service representative (MSR). Furthermore, channel crossover will help to curb application abandonment. Members who are able to start their application online and finish in-branch or vise versa, will be much more likely to complete and submit their application.

Application and Onboarding Process

When creating digital applications, design them for the member rather than your credit union’s back office. Asking for too much detail will deter members from finishing the application, so be sure to include pre-fill options for current members and validation services only for where necessary, to reduce friction. Also, encourage members to enroll in online banking and mobile banking within the first few days of account activation. This will greatly increase the member’s likelihood of creating and using digital banking services that will give them full access to their account at all times. Finally, it’s best practice to follow up with new members in 3 days or less after they have opened their account. On average 66% of FIs follow up in less than 3 days, and 60% have the same representative who helped open the account complete the follow-up.  

credit union member onboarding best practices

Friction in the member onboarding process causes dissatisfaction, which can decrease member loyalty and lead to lower retention rates. Other banks and credit unions are providing seamless onboarding experiences, so there is little room for error within today's processes. Making conscious efforts to reduce friction in the onboarding experience through personalization, channel options and efficient follow-up will increase application completion rates and create more value for members.

 Member Onboarding eBook

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