So we moan and complain all the time about banks not making full use of this amazing platform called the internet. Some banks have generally deliberately shied away from it and even deny their customers this convenience sometimes. Crazy yes, but the reality in these parts.
Anyway, we were pointed yesterday to the new Steward Bank site and honestly it looks like they are on their way to providing some real internet convenience on the banking front. It’s too early to say just how big they want to go changing the status quo, but the signs are there we may see a big change led by them on the market if they don’t bungle things up!
They have launched their website with two things that banks generally don’t have:
- Online account application*
- Online live chat with clients
And the completed application:
The online account application, we’re told by an executive at the bank, is just an easier way to submit the application before you go to the bank physically. Once submitted the team at Steward Bank will do pre-vetting and once they are done, call you in to a branch to submit the KYC documents and sign physical forms. That way, said the source, a customer walks out with their account opened. So yeah, online application that’s not so online and we’re guessing there’s no innovating around KYC!
The live chat facility is also quite cool because at least you can have all your questions answered without needing to visit a branch. Our experience chatting with an agent though is they didn’t quite seem to know what was going on. They apparently didn’t know the online account application was live. Memo hasn’t gone around maybe.
The one thing that worried us is that the chat and generally the site itself is not on a secure server and for a banking site (yes, its not the online banking system itself) this is a big problem. We did check the source code and there’s no secure iframe embedded in there. Customers tend to not know these things and will likely share account login details with call center agents via chat. Actually some might try to log into this website with their online banking details, a situation unscrupulous hackers will find quite attractive! Our source says this is something they are working to fix.
As for the online banking itself, the website says its coming soon so i guess we’ll have to wait. Our source at the company how ever says that wait will be about 2 weeks long.