From transaction to human interaction: UX powered rapid account opening

How can enterprise architecture transform UX and CX?

Think about the last time you opened a new bank account. You probably braced yourself to wait in a line or a waiting area; and if it was in the recent past, you made sure your smartphone was charged so you could scroll the news feed while answering procedural questions coming from someone immersed in their computer screen. 

Go ahead and Google “How long does it take to open a bank account?” The answer varies from 30 minutes, to two days, to ten days. We’re out to change this. And we’re doing it by shifting our sights from corporate requirements to user and customer experience.


The story of getting our account opening process to under 4 minutes began with ATB Transformation team members spending ‘a day in the life’ of frontline staff. What better way to uncovered pain points? As the ‘First Encounter’ for ATB customers, account opening seemed like a fitting pilot to test new systems and break down barriers to human centred service delivery. With this goal in mind, the team set out to move from “how do you spell that?” to “let’s dream together” and see if they could meet a challenge put forth by our Chief Transformation Officer, Wellington Holbrook to open a brand new account (including debit card in hand and Online Banking set up) in four minutes or less. 

To explain why the seemingly simple task of setting up a new account can be so complex, we have to lift the curtain a bit behind the complex workings and regulatory requirements of a Canadian Bank.

Traditionally, the siloed corporate areas of a bank operated independently. For example, the risk and compliance side of the business has certain requirements for account opening. Then add a layer on top of that for opening a debit account. And another to apply for a credit card. 

In the old model, each siloed team has a different tool, screen, or form, and different information requirements. What happens typically is frontline team members are left to manage different systems and processes that don’t work together. 

The solution that the Transformation Team created is built on a versatile digital platform that will help us elevate and integrate processes, making it easy to deliver best in class experiences. It streamlines the process for ATB frontline team members and overwhelmingly improves the account opening experience for ATB customers. 

Essentially what the new process looks like for customers and ATB team members is an easy scan of a driver’s license, a few on-screen questions to answer, and then in the back-end, the system transforms the information into the right formats and makes service calls to underlying systems in our separate corporate areas. 

The old process was built around the bank’s and the regulator’s requirements, with the customer experience coming second. The new one is built for user and customer experience first. It converts the ‘transactional experience’ of the past to a more human interaction. For ATB, this means we’re saving time and streamlining processes. But for our frontline staff, it means they can be dreaming with customers, not typing and re-typing information. 

A rapid account opening process means team members can spend more time learning about their customer’s dreams and goals, and setting them on a path to happiness. Or it means we can help customers get in and out quickly, confident that they have the banking products that they need.

And we’re not just solving one problem at a time. The key to the solution is enterprise architecture, a new platform that sits on top of the underlying corporate structure and processes here at ATB. Our internal teams building off of the enterprise layer are now able to focus on building the best experience, rather than worrying out integrating processes.

We’re changing banking by focussing on the experience we want customers to have, and then applying technology to make that a reality. We’re piloting this rapid process now, and already looking to apply the principal to improve experiences from mortgage lending to business banking. We want to find more ways to spend less time on the transaction, and more time on the human interaction. Are you interested in being part of meaningful projects just like this? Check out careers with ATB Transformation.

The new answer to the google question “how long does it take to open a bank account?”: four minutes.

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