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Best Ways for Enhancing Customer Onboarding for Private Banking Services in 2024

Published by
Sushree Sangeeta Behera
October 8, 2023

In private banking, onboarding a corporate client takes an average of about 100 days. The time varies significantly depending on the banking products and services. This protracted onboarding process is far from ideal in a world where time is money.

This time-consuming onboarding process is frustrating not just for the customers but also for employees. But can't customer onboarding in banking be made more efficient? 

In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the key challenges which result in this prolonged onboarding process. Furthermore, we will also look into 7 proven and ingenious ways to streamline and enhance the onboarding procedure for private banking in 2024. From harnessing cutting-edge technology to personalised relationship building, we're about to explore strategies to cut down those 100 days, ensuring a seamless and satisfying experience for both the client and the bank.

What is the Client Onboarding Process for Private Banks?

Client onboarding in private banks is a procedure that enables private banks & financial institutions to successfully integrate new clients and consumers with their services. Especially during and after the pandemic, many organisations embraced this quick and secure way.

According to Precursive's Customer Onboarding Benchmark Report 2021, 82% of businesses view their onboarding strategy as a key brand value driver since it links customer expectations with organisational effectiveness.

As a result, any strategy for delivering customer-oriented services must include client onboarding.

When it comes to implementing financial security measures, client onboarding in private banks is a crucial step in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The following elements make up secure client onboarding at its core:

  • Customer Identity Check
  • Verification of the recipient's identity using documents or IDs
  • Confirmation of tax residency
    Identification of the client's business goals
onboarding for private banking_app0
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5 Challenges Faced During Onboarding for Private Banking

5 Challenges Faced During Onboarding for Private Banking_onboarding for private banking

The client onboarding process in private banking faces some crucial challenges, which results in a negative customer experience. Below listed are 5 such key challenges. 

1. Extensive Documentation 

One of the foremost hurdles encountered during the onboarding for private banking services revolves around the sheer volume of documentation involved. The nature of private banking necessitates a meticulous assessment of a client's financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance. 

As a result, clients are often required to provide an extensive array of documents, from financial statements and tax records to identity verification and more. About 89% of clients reported facing a negative KYC experience while in private banks.

This extensive documentation process can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's crucial for banks to adhere to regulatory requirements and ensure that they're fully informed about their clients. On the other, it can be overwhelming for clients who may perceive it as intrusive and time-consuming.

Balancing the need for thorough due diligence with the need for a smooth and efficient onboarding process is a significant challenge.

2. Complex Investment Structures 

Private banking clients, who come with a diverse array of assets and financial goals, require tailored investment strategies. This results in the need for a highly detailed and personalised onboarding process. However, creating these custom strategies efficiently and competently can be complex.

The complexities of investment structures can lead to delays, as banks need to carefully analyse and understand the client's financial portfolio, risk appetite, and investment preferences. In addition, stringent regulations and compliance requirements add another layer of intricacy to onboarding for private banking, as every investment structure must adhere to specific legal and regulatory standards.

Ensuring that clients' investments align with their financial goals and preferences while complying with ever-evolving financial regulations is a delicate balancing act. Failing to do so can lead to legal issues and financial risks. Therefore, addressing these complexities is crucial for streamlining and improving the onboarding process for private banking clients.

3. Compliance 

Regulatory requirements for private banking institutions are stringent and subject to frequent changes. Ensuring adherence to these complex regulations is paramount, as any oversight can result in severe repercussions. 

When it comes to onboarding for private banking, institutions must meticulously adhere to know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. These procedures require extensive due diligence, verification of client identities, source of funds, and continuous monitoring.

When banks breach regulations, they often face substantial fines that can seriously impact their financial bottom line and tarnish their reputation. For instance, in 2019, Standard Chartered incurred a hefty $1.1 billion fine due to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) violations, while Citigroup faced a €43.9 million penalty for failures in regulatory reporting.

Private banking institutions need to harmonise their onboarding processes with these regulations, and that often involves intricate documentation and thorough scrutiny. The challenge lies in achieving this without causing undue client delays and friction.

4. Manual Processes 

Many industries have leapt forward in terms of technological innovation. However, the private banking sector often lags behind, ensnared by traditional practices that are often time-consuming and cumbersome. This is why about 38% of customers are ready to switch to other financial service providers in case of a lengthy onboarding process.

Outdated systems, disconnected databases, and manual data entry are prevalent culprits, resulting in a sluggish onboarding process that can test the patience of both clients and banking professionals. These inefficiencies elongate the client onboarding process timeline and increase the potential for errors, which can be detrimental in the high-stakes world of private banking.

5. Lack of Technological Integration 

During onboarding for private banking, clients often encounter outdated, cumbersome systems that can make the process needlessly complex and time-consuming. It can result in a frustrating experience as clients expect a seamless journey. This challenge can manifest in various ways, from outdated software hindering data entry and document sharing to a lack of digital interfaces for client interactions.

The consequences are manifold - prolonged onboarding times, increased operational costs, and, most crucially, a subpar client experience. In today's fast-paced financial landscape, the fusion of technology with the human touch is key to conquering the challenges faced during onboarding for private banking.

customer onboarding for private banking_app0 cta

7 Ways for Improving the Onboarding Procedure for Private Banking Services in 2024

Below listed are 7 ways and strategies for elevating the onboarding procedure in private banking. 

1. Simplify KYC Requirements 

Simplifying KYC requirements is paramount in optimising the onboarding for private banking services. By adopting a more efficient, technology-driven, and risk-based approach, banks can ensure that the process is not a cumbersome barrier but a smooth gateway to their exclusive financial services.

To improve the onboarding for private banking, institutions should strive to balance the imperative of compliance with a more client-friendly approach. This can be achieved by reevaluating and making the KYC requirements more efficient. 

Instead of requesting redundant information or imposing cumbersome forms, banks can adopt a risk-based approach to KYC. This means tailoring the KYC process to the specific risk associated with each client, reducing the burden on low-risk individuals.

Moreover, embracing modern technology such as biometric verification, digital identity, and blockchain can simplify the KYC process significantly. These innovations not only expedite the onboarding process but also enhance security and accuracy.

Incorporating a user-friendly interface for clients to submit their KYC documents can also streamline the procedure. Mobile applications or web portals dedicated to onboarding for private banking can make the submission process more convenient and transparent.

2. Streamline the Documentation Process  

Streamline the Documentation Process_onboarding for private banking

Streamlining the documentation process is critical to enhancing the onboarding for private banking. First and foremost, embracing digital documentation is key. 

Moving away from traditional, paper-based processes to digital formats reduces the hassle for both clients and the bank. Electronic signatures and secure document-sharing platforms can facilitate a seamless exchange of necessary information.

Moreover, implementing intelligent document management systems can significantly improve the process. These systems can automatically extract relevant data from uploaded documents, reducing the manual effort required for document verification. This not only accelerates onboarding but also minimises the risk of errors.

Additionally, clear and concise communication with clients is essential. Providing clients with a checklist of required documents and a step-by-step guide on how to submit them can eliminate confusion and ensure a smoother onboarding experience.

3. Prefer Digitisation over Manual Processes 

Prefer Digitisation over Manual Processes _onboarding for private banking

According to a McKinsey report, banks can skyrocket their profits by 40% by digitising their services and operations. In today's rapidly evolving financial landscape, the integration of digital solutions has become paramount for enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

To begin, embracing digital onboarding in banking can significantly expedite the process. Instead of relying on cumbersome paperwork and manual data entry, private banks can harness technology to automate much of the administrative work. 

Furthermore, digital processes enable secure storage and retrieval of essential client documents, such as identification and financial records. This eliminates the need for physical storage and minimises the risk of document loss or misplacement.

Integrating online platforms and apps for onboarding can also facilitate remote account opening, which has become increasingly important in a post-pandemic world. Clients can submit necessary documentation and information from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for in-person visits and, thus, enhancing convenience.

4. Diversify Your Onboarding Channels  

Diversifying your onboarding channels for private banking is about providing clients with choices, adapting to changing circumstances, and expanding your reach. This approach enhances the overall onboarding experience and is a key element in improving the onboarding for private banking services. 

By providing various onboarding channels, such as in-person meetings, online applications, or even mobile app-based onboarding, you cater to a broader spectrum of client needs. This flexibility showcases your commitment to customer satisfaction and makes the onboarding process more convenient and accessible.

Moreover, offering multiple onboarding channels allows you to adapt to changing circumstances. For instance, during a global pandemic like the COVID-19 crisis, digital onboarding options become invaluable when in-person interactions are limited. This adaptability demonstrates your agility and responsiveness to external factors.

Furthermore, diversifying your onboarding channels can help you reach a wider audience and expand your client base. It allows you to tap into different market segments that may prefer specific onboarding methods.

5. Train Relationship Managers (RMS) And KYC Analysts 

Investing in the training of Relationship Managers and KYC analysts is a strategic move for private banks looking to enhance their client onboarding processes.

Firstly, Relationship Managers (RMs) are often clients' primary point of contact. To ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding process, RMs must be well-versed in the intricacies of private banking services. This includes the various products and services offered, compliance requirements, and client expectations. This knowledge equips them to answer client queries, provide informed recommendations, and guide clients effectively through the onboarding journey.

Secondly, KYC (Know Your Customer) analysts play a pivotal role in onboarding by verifying client identities and assessing the risk associated with each client. Ensuring that KYC analysts are well-trained is essential for accurate due diligence, compliance with regulations, and preventing financial crimes.

Training for both RMs and KYC analysts should encompass not only the technical aspects of onboarding but also soft skills such as effective communication, client relationship management, and problem-solving. Well-trained professionals ensure the process is both efficient and client-focused, a critical combination in the competitive world of private banking.

6. Personalise Product Offerings and Customer Service 

Personalise Product Offerings and Customer Serviceonboarding for private banking_onboarding for private banking

In a competitive landscape where banks vie for high-net-worth clients, offering a tailored experience is paramount. To begin, banks should meticulously assess their clients' financial needs, risk tolerance, and long-term objectives. This in-depth understanding enables the creation of personalised investment portfolios and financial strategies that align with the client's unique goals.

Moreover, offering each client a dedicated relationship manager (RM) can significantly elevate the onboarding process. Customisation should extend beyond investments. It should also encompass the overall customer experience. 

For instance, clients should be able to choose from various communication channels—in-person meetings, video conferencing, or secure messaging apps. This adaptability in communication reflects a commitment to meeting the client's preferences.

Additionally, providing clients with exclusive events, educational webinars, or insights tailored to their interests can further enhance the onboarding for private banking. These exclusive offerings demonstrate that the bank is a financial institution and a partner invested in the client's financial success.

7. Leverage Technology and Automation 

Leverage Technology and Automation_onboarding for private banking

McKinsey's research suggests that AI has the potential to contribute an additional $1 trillion in value to global banks. This stats clearly reflect how private banks can be at the forefront of technological advancements and leveraging them effectively. This ultimately helps them revamp their client onboarding process, making them more efficient, secure, and customer-centric.

Digital tools can expedite the verification process of KYC (Know Your Customer), ensuring more efficient and accurate customer due diligence. Furthermore, predictive analytics can be employed to understand customer behaviour and preferences, enabling banks to personalise their product offerings and customer service, as mentioned in the sixth subhead.

Blockchain technology also plays a pivotal role in securing and simplifying data management. As the second subhead suggests, implementing blockchain in the onboarding for private banking can enhance data security and streamline the documentation process. Blockchain's immutable ledger system ensures that customer data is tamper-proof and accessible only by authorised parties.

Additionally, the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) and conversational support software can enable private banks to connect with various data sources for a comprehensive customer profile, contributing to personalised onboarding experiences. This aligns with the diversification of onboarding channels highlighted in the fourth subhead.


Private banking institutions need to recognise that an impeccable client onboarding process is not merely a transactional experience but a pivotal milestone in building lasting client relationships. By transitioning toward digital onboarding for private banking, financial institutions can provide a modern and efficient experience that aligns with the expectations of today's tech-savvy clientele. This approach streamlines processes and sets the stage for a more customer-centric approach to private banking services, ensuring a competitive edge in the industry.

If you're looking forward to enhancing customer onboarding with a conversational AI, look no further than App0. App0 is an AI-driven, no-code messaging platform that transforms text notifications into interactive conversations. It empowers healthcare service companies to expedite origination processes, decrease application drop-offs, and elevate customer experience through text engagement. 

In dealer/vendor-led programs, where phone and email dominate communication, App0 tackles challenges like collecting sensitive data and documents efficiently. Automating workflows with AI-driven messaging streamlines operations reduces agent workload, and enhances security and compliance.  

Request a demo today to learn more about conversational AI platforms that can help in enhancing customer onboarding in private banking.

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