Research Shows European Banks Are Not Meeting SME Customer Digital Account Opening and Onboarding Needs or Expectations

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83% of SME respondents want to be able to apply for banking products more quickly and easily according to research commissioned by Avoka

“Research shows that having digital onboarding options is a key factor in SME customers’ loyalty towards their bank . . . and whether they would consider switching to a different bank in the future.”Richard Austen, Avoka General Manager, EMEA

Avoka, the leader in digital customer acquisition journeys in banking, shared research findings today that shows banks in Europe have not yet acted on the opportunity to create an optimised digital account opening and onboarding experience for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking customers, are at risk of losing present customers, and are hampering their ability to compete for new SME customers. Avoka is hosting a free breakfast seminar to discuss the research further on 17th October, at the Marriott Hotel County Hall, London. Bankers are invited to register here. We will be joined by Vanson Bourne and Santander as guest speakers.

Vanson Bourne, an independent market researcher, was commissioned by Avoka to survey small business owners and executives across Europe with an aim to understand SME attitudes and opinions toward their banking partners. Some of the more surprising results from the research report, How Banks Can Win New Small Business Customers, are:

  • Only 38% of SMEs said their banks give them the ability to provide supporting documents electronically, but 82% of SME respondents would find that ability to be very or extremely useful
  • 89% of SME respondents say they must input the same information multiple times in the same application, and 80% of SME respondents would consider auto-filling to be very or extremely useful
  • Because of frustration with the application process, 67% of SMEs have at some point abandoned a digital banking application before completion

“Traditionally, applying for business banking products was something that could only take place either in a local branch or over the telephone. Now, however, digital channels are increasingly being used alongside these traditional approaches. Therefore, it’s massively important from a bank’s perspective that they are investing in modern, digital platforms that enable them to give their SME customers exactly what they want and need,” said Richard Austen, Avoka General Manager, EMEA.

The research report also reveals that when choosing a new banking partner for their business, the vast majority (86%) of respondents report that it is either very or crucially important that they are able to apply for banking products digitally. In fact, one third (33%) of respondents reveal that their business would not partner with a bank who did not offer this. Upon having a bad online banking experience 20% would be extremely likely to tell other similar businesses, and on a more positive note, 83% say that if they were satisfied with their banking experience they would recommend their bank to similar businesses.

“Research shows that having digital onboarding options is a key factor in SME customers’ loyalty towards their bank, what kind of recommendation they would make to similar businesses about their banking partner, and whether they would consider switching to a different bank in the future,” Austen added.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About Vanson Bourne
Vanson Bourne is an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector. Our reputation for robust and credible research-based analysis is founded upon rigorous research principles and our ability to seek the opinions of senior decision makers across technical and business functions, in all business sectors and all major markets. For more information, visit

About Avoka
Avoka creates customer acquisition and onboarding journeys in financial services, government, and other industries. For account opening, lending applications, and business onboarding, Avoka Transact creates outstanding experiences that accelerate customer acquisition and time to market. Avoka was founded in 2002 and has digitized over 100 million transactions for 150+ global clients. Avoka is based in Denver, CO; London, England; and Sydney, Australia.

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Annabel Rivero
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