Customer loyalty and the race to PFI status | Blend

The race to achieve PFI status

How banks are competing for (and winning) customer loyalty in an increasingly digital landscape.

In the race to achieve primary financial institution (PFI) status with customers, traditional banks are lagging behind fintechs, challenger banks, and other non-bank financial providers. Despite modernizing their financial products and delivering services across various channels, many of today’s banks are hamstrung by older technology that isn’t fully integrated. And many are unable to build new systems due to limited internal IT resources — often forced to rely on multiple software vendors for numerous point solutions while rising neobanks operate on a digital-first model that increasingly appeals to modern consumers.

Traditional FIs have the advantage for gaining PFI status

Nevertheless, financial institutions have several advantages that can be leveraged when competing against newer financial services providers. One of the key advantages that traditional FIs have is their ability to build and maintain relationships with customers over the long term. Unlike newer fintechs that are mainly used by consumers for transactional convenience such as bill payments and money transfers, traditional financial institutions have new and surprising opportunities to deepen engagement, build loyalty, and gain PFI status with their customers. And PFI status is what drives business revenue through cross-sell of additional products, rich data, and customer referrals.

If a traditional FI has the primary deposit account with a customer — where that customer receives their direct deposit and uses that account as a top-of-wallet card — they have a wealth of customer data to leverage. Personalized product offerings and proactive service, which can only come from rich PFI status data, is precisely what builds customer loyalty and wins against the competition in today’s market and beyond.

Success is dependent on that first impression

Elevated customer experience can be a key differentiator with today’s modern consumer: simple, fast, and uninterrupted. Consumers have come to expect the same level of service and convenience in financial services that they experience in other industries — from Amazon to Netflix.

Relationships with new customers are won or lost on that initial, onboarding experience. If a consumer experiences friction while opening a new account, they will abandon the process.

White rectangular card featuring ebook preview of Seize the opportunity to gain PFI status with modern consumers

According to a report from PwC in 2021, 21% of surveyed consumers would prefer to open a new deposit account digitally but are unable to do so and instead are directed to visit a banking branch. Needless to say, this “digital gap” needs to be bridged.

A successful deposit account solution is driven by an intuitive, digital experience that guides the consumer through the entire process. And this process needs to be uninterrupted. At any point along the way, any friction, any manual elements that may slow or hamper the process are all brick walls for the consumer.

Blend Deposit Accounts solves for these barriers and pitfalls through a number of automated systems including a decision engine and identity verification that is nearly instant. Blend builds products that service today’s modern consumers delivering fast, simple, and uninterrupted service.

The pathway to PFI status

By delivering a personalized experience and ensuring the account opening process is uninterrupted, financial institutions can gain PFI status and become top-of-wallet for their customers. In many cases, this begins with a deposit account. But if your deposit account opening process does not meet the digital demands and expectations of today’s consumers, you’ll continue to lag behind the competition.

A successful deposit accounts solution can bring immense value to the relationship with your customer through rich data, personalized offerings, and deeper engagement. For today’s consumers, the pathway to PFI status is through deposit accounts.

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