Over the past few years, I’ve transitioned across to internet banking like most. Now I also use mobile banking, mainly for balance checks and confirmation of transactions. In fact, it’s twenty years since all of this began and now it’s standard.
So it surprised me this week, when applying for a new mortgage (yes, I’m moving house!) and the mortgage broker said that I had to bring in my bank statements.
I said that I haven’t had a bank statement for about three years, as I’m saving the planet by avoiding wrecking trees.
“Oh dear”, he says, “that’s not good news.”
What do you mean, I ask.
“Well, banks are a little bit schizophrenic these days”, he laments. “They encourage you to go green by not having bank statements, and then insist on seeing paper statements when you ask for a mortgage.”
That’s stupid, I say.
“It’s just one of those anomalies”, he mourned.
I must admit, these anomalies crop up regularly.
Just look at the actual mortgage or account opening forms and statements and you realise how antiquated these processes can be.
The Know Your Client (KYC) part in particular is still a burden for many, with most banks insisting that you have to go through this process every time you open a new account, even if you are an existing customer.
Some banks are up to speed though.
Some banks accept that if you have an existing bank relationship then that is good enough.
Pingit! from Barclays for example, accepts that if you can run a small transaction through your bank account then you’re ok, in the same way that PayPal performs their account opening.
If you’re not familiar, the process is that you register with your existing bank information.
Pingit! and PayPal then deposit 0.01 cents or pence in your account with a unique reference number. You then enter that reference number as a one-time password for the account opening.
In this instance, the banks are accepting that you can prove who you are by the fact that you did that once before to open a bank account.
It truly sets them apart from those that insist on a branch visit with passport and proof of address.
Unfortunately, that is the majority, with most banks insisting on a new account opening being a face-to-face experience with passports, driving licences etc.
If they think about this, it is a hangover of 20th century processes once more, as it is not necessary as proven by Pingit! and PayPal.
Equally, it is not acceptable in 2013 to force the customer to make a physical visit to the bank.
I am feeling this pain because I’m wasting half a day here and half a day there in my mortgage process, to visit offices with documents and papers. It’s a real pain.
So, for all the veneer of 21st century banking, most banks are stuck in 20th century processes.
Re-engineer and catch up or get overtaken.