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LARi Report cover: Digital Banking

© 2021 LARi Insight Inc.

“Opening a bank account is a pivotal step in the onboarding phase of the client journey.
Done right, it establishes a loyal relationship that can last decades. Done poorly, it leads
to abandonment and missed revenue.”

LARi Report

Digital Banking

Opening an account digitally ranges from easy to egregious

Report focus: This report examines digital account opening in the Canadian marketplace, from the big banks to the fintech upstarts. It includes benchmark scoring for each institution and best practices to deliver an exceptional digital experience.

Who should read it?: Marketing, Distribution and IT executives, Client Experience and User Experience leaders and practitioners, Strategy leaders, Digital Product owners, Market Research and Insight teams, Digital designers, and front-end developers.


What’s Inside?

What you’ll find in this report: 

  • Benchmark scoring: ranking the Canadian banks (the schedule 1 banks, often referred to as the “big 5”) and other large players, a foreign bank, a credit union, as well as some digital subsidiaries and pseudo-banks or neobanks
  • Key Trends: elements driving a variety of changes in the account opening process
  • Best practices: the do’s and don’ts for creating a quality account opening experience
  • Real-world verbatim insights: we collected input from over 1,300 Canadian clients/prospects, as well as industry insiders in client experience and digital product management roles
  • A practitioner’s checklist for an improved e-app experience 

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Detailed Rankings

Benchmark scoring for 17 Canadian firms including the “big 5” and other large players, a foreign bank, a credit union, as well as some digital subsidiaries and pseudo-banks or neobanks

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Industry Trends

We mapped a rapidly-shifting landscape, covering: Covid-19 impacts, shifting client expectations, digital first vs. product first, omnichannel needs, Open APIs, Voice, Digital ID, Open Banking

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Best Practices

Informed by input from over 1,300 Canadians, we highlighted the best practices to drive client satisfaction and optimal e-app results. We also highlighted an innovative example from Asia’s emerging fintech players.

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Quantitative Data

We asked Canadians about: banking during a pandemic, channel preferences, expectations on e-app speed and approval time, the most critical e-app criteria, and their preferred institutions.

Included Companies

Our report assesses the online bank account application process for 18 companies:

Largest Canadian banks (by assets): TD Bank Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, BMO Financial Group, CIBC, National Bank of Canada

Large, foreign-owned banks: HSBC Canada
Co-operatives/Credit Unions: Desjardins Group, Libro
Subsidiaries of Canadian banks or financial institutions: Tangerine Bank (Scotiabank), Manulife Bank (Manulife), Simplii (CIBC), Motusbank (Meridian Credit Union) Alterna Bank (Alterna Savings)
Subsidiaries of other Canadian brands: President’s Choice Bank (PC Financial)
Direct Banks or Neobanks: Koho Financial, EQ Bank (Equitable Bank)


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Report Contributors:

Dan Skeen, Primary Author

Dan Skeen

Dan is the founder and President of LARi Insight. His experience includes several years as an executive in Canada’s financial services industry, driving digital transformation and product innovation across the web, mobile and social media. He has led teams devoted to a wide range of disciplines including product development, market insight, user experience, analytics, social media, and content marketing.
Dan’s background also includes digital roles for an integrated marketing agency and a web-based start-up, in locations that include Toronto, San Francisco and Brisbane, Australia. His views on digital topics have appeared in The Globe & Mail, Wired, MarketingProfs and many other publications.

David Han

David Han

Experience Design

For 18 years David has honed his craft while working in New York City, Düsseldorf, and Toronto, gaining extensive experience at top global agencies like Critical Mass, Sapient, and GALE Partners.
David has partnered with brands like Foxwoods Resort, BMW USA,
Allstate, and The Toronto Star to frame a more audience-first brand experience through content
and digital utility. In his current role as Director of Experience Design at Nurun Toronto, David heads up a cross-functional team of design thinkers.

Glen Drummond




Glen is a marketing and innovation strategist and educator.  He serves as Chief Innovation Officer of B2B marketing agency,Quarry,  he’s co-founder ofCarbon Design LLP – a  “Talent Platform” agency pioneering applications of personality-science to improve marketing performance, and most recently founder ofPost-Carbon Pathfinders – a strategy practice specialized for the innovators who are building a more sustainable world.

Priyal Trivedi

Priyal Trivedi

Market Research

Priyal is a Toronto-based Insights, Intelligence and Analytics professional. Her work experience includes market research for Retail, CPG and Consumer Behavior measurement for clients like Walmart, Target, Tesco, Pepsi, and other Forbes 500 companies.
Priyal’s philosophy is that “Every dataset has a story”. She is well known for bringing that story to life by uncovering insights and then weaving a compelling story for clients.

Kim Graham


Kim harbors a distinct passion for the creative process. As a graphic designer with more than two decades of experience, she possesses expertise in various software tools for both digital and print. Additionally, she specializes in typography, client service, communications, logos, branding, and web strategies.
Kim attributes her success to her passion and dedication, as well as her professional and educational background.

Why buy this report?

We’ve made it easy to assess the client experience. With less than 30 minutes of reading you’ll know which banks are providing the most satisfying account opening experience, and how your firm rates.

You’ll have a deep library of best practices to draw upon, and tangible examples you can leverage. Most importantly, you’ll be closer to the voice of the client, with a deeper understanding of the trends reshaping client expectations as well as industry trends on the short- to mid-term horizon.

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It’s practical

Practical insights and advice for industry professionals. It helps you deliver a better experience.

Canadian Made

We focus exclusively on the Canadian banking experience, and industry trends are filtered with a view on Canadian impact.

it’s Thorough

To our knowledge, it’s the most complete analysis of the account opening process ever completed.


Hundreds of hours of research distilled into a concise 38 pages. Available at a cost comparable to a typical company meeting.

Don’t take our word for it…

Our report is loaded with first-hand feedback from over 1,300 Canadian clients. 

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