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New Banking Customer Acquisition

UhaulOne key dynamic of the banking market is the "stickiness" of customers. You have to really mess up to motivate a customer to go through the hassle of unwinding their checking accounts and automated transfers, and setting everything up at a new financial institution. This customer "loyalty" is behind many pricing decisions, from interest rates offered on savings accounts to NSF/OD fees.

However, there is one time when customers literally beat a path to your door, looking to open multiple accounts. That's when they move away from the geographic footprint of their existing financial institution.

Google_movingtophoenix_1So, it's long been the holy grail of banking to find a way of identifying these movers and get them signed up before they go bank shopping in their new place of residence. Over the years, banks have worked with moving companies, large employers, and other sources of data on incoming residents. Millions of expensive, direct-mail packages have been dropped, but the returns are often marginal at best. The problem: households on the move don't read their junk mail, if they even receive it.

Enter the Internet age. What do most households do now once they know they are moving to a new city? They Google it.

Action Items
So, if you know potential customers are Googling your city, you better put your name into areas they are visiting, such as rental listings, real estate listings, school info, and so on. And once you get their interest, your website better speak directly to their situation, because, in the midst of a major move, they don't have a whole lot of time to think about checking accounts.

Bofa_movingcenterYou should have a place on your website devoted to new residents. It doesn't have to be as sophisticated as Bank of America's (click on inset for closeup), but it should tell potential customers:

  1. What a great presence you have in the community
  2. How your prices are competitive
  3. How convenient it is to move accounts to your bank
  4. How easy it is to get ahold of someone who cares (e.g., "chat now with our moving specialist")

We'll cover this subject, including a detailed look at online efforts to attract movers, in the next issue of Online Banking Report (to be published in late-April).