Bankers who are intent on preparing for the day when digital channels dominate account opening should rethink their timing. That day might have already arrived. In 2014, more Americans applied for credit cards and a variety of loan and investment accounts through online and mobile channels, with the volume of applications on smartphones and tablets jumping more than 60% for auto loans, mortgages, and credit cards. And now even the checking account — the foundational bank account that Americans have long established face-to-face at a branch — is at a tipping point, with 70% of likely applicants saying they would prefer to submit a digital application in 2015. The upshot is that retail banking is facing a fundamental and irreversible shift. The far-reaching implications apply not only to the “branch of the future,” but also to the branch-centric culture of banking itself.

Primary Questions:

  • How many consumers opened deposit, loan, and investment accounts in 2014?
  • Which channels did they favor — online, mobile, or branches?
  • What capabilities, features, and marketing messages hold sway when applicants decide whether to apply online, on mobile devices, or at branches?
  • Whom should financial institutions target first with digital account opening — and how?
  • How can financial institutions (FIs) exploit the powerful smartphone and tablet capabilities?

Companies Mentioned:

Andera Fiserv
D+H MeridianLink
Jack Henry  



  • The consumer data in this report is based primarily on information collected in a random-sample panel of 3,100 consumers in an August/September 2014 online survey. 
  • Supplemental data is based on information collected in random-sample panels of 8,552 consumers in a November 2014 online survey.