Building Societies Digital Transformation

Digital transformation projects have been fast-tracked for Building Societies, due to the effects of social distancing and remote working. These changes were on the radar for 2020 and potentially further into this year. In this article, we discuss what the new ‘normal’ could look like and how Societies can continue to deliver value to their Members when it comes to digital onboarding and remote verification.

Posted on April 26, 2021
Written by Rhodri James

building societies digital transformation

Building societies are working hard to serve their members during these changing and challenging, times.

Due to the speed with which the Covid-19 crisis has developed, there has been a need to adapt quickly – both from a consumer and business perspective. Building Societies digital transformation may have been on the agenda for some time, but the current crisis has accelerated roll-out and many firms are looking for established partners that can enhance their online operations within their existing business processes at low risk.

Increasing customer expectations

In today’s fast-moving, competitive financial landscape, digital offerings from organisations have become increasingly sophisticated and user demands have risen exponentially. Customers of all ages now expect user-friendly services and streamlined efficiency from their online banking services from the moment they onboard. And, if they don’t receive this, they can easily turn to a competitor to find what they are looking for. 

Building societies need to attract and onboard new customers without breaching lockdown regulations and must turn to a digital approach to client onboarding if they are to succeed in these changing times.

Building Societies digital transformation achieve great customer experience

Providing an optimal user experience across a society’s applications is therefore business-critical for attracting new customers,  and continually monitoring them is critical to maintaining compliance.

We have seen the rise of challenger banks, providing digital solutions, which has rocked the more traditional banks and building societies. Recently Monzo gained the greatest number of current account customers in the three months to December 2019, beating long-term leader Nationwide, switching figures reveal (source).

Branches still have their uses.  Many customers appreciate the personal touch and there are certain transactions that require a face-to-face meeting, but, as the new wave of digital/challenger banks has shown, the populace is looking for new ways of managing their financial affairs and are confident in adopting remote tools and apps. 


To maintain customer numbers, firms will need to offer onboarding solutions that do not rely on the face-to-face verification that has been necessary for the past.

In the constant drive to improve efficiency, digitalisation offers opportunities to minimise duplication and rework.  This improves the productivity of existing staff, as they are able to focus on ‘added value’ compliance tasks, allowing organisations to comply with ever-increasing regulation.

Remote onboarding and verification as the norm

What has become apparent is that businesses that rely on face-to-face meetings to verify their client’s identity before allowing them to use a product or service is a massive barrier to onboarding. 

In these unusual times, asking your customers to visit an office or branch is no longer viable. Not only do today’s clients desire the convenience of signing up to a product or service in minutes from a mobile phone, but with ‘social distancing’ imperatives, it has become key that regulated firms need to respond to this increasingly preferred and socially-acceptable demand for remote onboarding.

Download the ‘New Normal’ of Remote Verification

At NorthRow we ask will these new remote behaviours will become the ‘new norm’ or will they be seen as a trend that disappears as fast as it arrived? Read our latest opinion piece to learn more.

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In Summary

Building Societies that will grow best during these changing times will be those that evolve into the new ‘normal’ by rapidly adopting a more digital approach with remote services where possible that place customer experience high on their agenda.