The Royal Bank of Scotland has launched an Accelerated Onboarding Service that aims to dramatically cut the sign-up time needed for corporate banking clients in 23 countries.
The new system allows applicants to use a signature interactive form to open an account, cutting paperwork on the customer side by 75%. The initiative will be made available in the UK, the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.A.E.
Eventually, corporate customers in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey will also be able to use the system.
Increasingly onerous legal and compliance regulations such as the Know Your Customer scheme, which aims to prevent fraud and money-laundering, mean that signing up a customer can take more than six months in many cases.
Despite spending a collective total of $1.8 billion on upgrades to meet the Faster Payments Initiative, many financial institutions in the UK have accepted long corporate lead times as a necessary evil. Now, RBS’ efforts to make the process “simpler, less time-consuming and more cost-efficient” are likely to pile pressure on competitor banks to streamline their systems, too.
The difficultly for these banks will be measuring whether the gains of speedy onboarding outweigh the costs. Slow and paperwork-heavy processes are cumbersome and inconvenient, but they are thorough enough to reduce risk and pass regulations. There is also the financial cost of implementation to consider. If RBS’ initiative is shown to bring in significant revenue (or safeguards against loss of revenue), other banks will no doubt follow suit. For now, many are watching carefully to judge the effects.
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