TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmailMessengerEach year, CSI polls executives at financial institutions across the country, asking questions that uncover the strategies and issues they believe will most affect the financial sector in the year ahead. Of the 220 bankers who answered our survey this year, 71% stated that new customer acquisition will be a major tactic toward reaching their revenue goals. Without question, customer acquisition is the name of the game, and it’s a battlefield out there. Here’s how banks are stepping up to the fight. Self-Service Banking Attracts New Customers 44% of bankers are adding self-service options like online account opening this year. Automated online account-opening solutions are rising as a strong vehicle for banks to both increase their customer base and solidify existing account relationships through cross-sales—leading to revenue growth. These solutions: Are relatively inexpensive Are user-friendly (and quickly becoming the expectation) Require no additional hardware Allow quick implementation By contrast, many institutions still keep account applications on their website. Once customers submit them, bank personnel enter the information to open the account. While it works, it’s not very efficient, for either the customer or the staff. Loans Prove Paramount 39% of bankers recognized loans as the single-most important channel for attracting new customers in 2019. Bankers are dead-on in naming loans as the most important avenue for acquiring customers this year. Consumers have more money in their pockets, and the market is quite favorable, despite the fact that we are in a rising interest rate environment. But while it’s true that loans are crucial to customer acquisition, an institution’s channel of communication with those prospective customers is even more important: if you don’t have a solid presence in digital lending, you’ll miss out on this opportunity. According to Independent Banker, “Automated lending technology is one way that community banks can accelerate their own processes to fund loans within hours, or even minutes. (And) traditional lending processes are less efficient and secure because multiple people have access to paper details.” P2P’s Undeniable Popularity Approximately 3 in 4 banks will offer some form of P2P by the end of 2019. 44% of bankers who took our survey stated that they are planning to offer P2P services this year. Add that to the 30% who already offer P2P, and we have 75% of bankers hopping on the P2P train. That’s a good thing, since the average P2P transaction exceeds $150, clearly not the small-dollar, meal-splitting transaction originally thought. In fact, according to Mercator Advisory Group, the volume of P2P transactions in the U.S. is greater than $100 billion. So why the hold-out for the remaining 25%? “Maybe they want to go with Zelle and they just can’t get it this year,” says Dan Latimore of Celent. “Is it that they think it’s too expensive relative to customer demand, or simply that they don’t think their customers want it? And fair enough, if they’ve done their homework, but if it’s just a gut feel that their customers don’t want it, that’s not great.” Get the Full Story If you want more data on your peers’ strategies, budgets and tactics for the coming year surrounding cybersecurity, compliance, digital banking, lending and more, download our full Executive Report: 2019 Banking Priorities today.