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Five Better Ways to Acquire Digital Banking Customers at Scale

Most community banks and credit unions struggle to acquire new customers using traditional methods as the world is increasingly moving from physical to digital. Today, many consumers have stopped visiting branches to open new accounts. As a result, the speed and simplicity of digital account opening have become a top priority, followed closely by a digital customer acquisition strategy. Below are five better ways for community banks to acquire digital banking customers at a scale:

1.    Optimize end-to-end customer journeys

Many community banks fail to convert customers on digital channels because customers are often faced with time-consuming application processes, have limited support touchpoints, and must provide a considerable amount of information to apply for a financial product or service. Evaluate how much processing time it takes for new customers to open online bank accounts and where most new customers drop off. Understanding and optimizing end-to-end customer journeys will help you improve in acquiring new customers.

2.    Offer a seamless onboarding process

Seamless onboarding and origination processes are pivotal in accelerating digital-first experiences and paving the way for cross-selling opportunities. For example, allow first-time customers to open bank accounts and apply for different products without going through cumbersome and tedious processes. Ensure your customer service team can answer any onboarding questions through various mediums such as direct calls, chats, emails, or social media channels.

3.    Improve digital sales processes

Many community banks are operating with antiquated technologies, impeding digital cross-selling processes. To provide a better experience for new customers, ensure that customers have access to comprehensive banking services in one place. This will give your customers the flexibility and accessibility of having the right financial solutions at the right time. Understanding who your customers are, how their preferences change with their lifestyle, and how you plan to engage their banking journey will be an excellent place to start a digital sales process.

4.    Have a Gen Z acquisition strategy

How are you reaching Gen Z customers who will need a wide range of financial products in the future? Gen Zs are digital natives that are more financially sophisticated than any previous generation at their age. Studies have shown Gen Z learning about personal finance from TikTok, YouTube, and other social media outlets. To attract this new generation of potential customers, community banks must understand what banking means to this generation and how to meet their financial needs. You will be able to grow market share with this new group by providing financial advice, appealing to their digital nature, supporting social causes, and leveraging community ties.

5.    Create powerful digital content to engage consumers

Banking customers are turning to online research to find answers, tips, and recommendations to make financial decisions. To position your brand as a trusted expert to attract new leads, your bank must offer valuable financial advice that helps and educates customers. No matter what shape your content takes, the most important thing is that takeaways should be clear, practical, and relevant.


As consumers have increasingly moved to mobile devices, they want seamless integration of tools that can save them time and money without requiring them to bounce from app to app. For those community banks and credit unions that still rely on branches for most of the new customer growth, the number of customers generated in this manner will continually diminish as more consumers open accounts and do their banking digitally. Even if your bank’s digital customer acquisition engine is efficient, the power of checking accounts as the primary financial product is waning. Your bank must look beyond traditional channels and existing branch footprints to reach the desired growth scale.

Key Takeaways

  • Optimize end-to-end customer journeys
  • Offer a seamless onboarding process
  • Improve digital sales processes
  • Have Gen Z acquisition strategy
  • Create powerful digital content to engage consumers