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2007 1st Quarter:

Flagstar Bank Capitalizes on the Onboarding Opportunity

Flagstar Bancorp of Troy, Mich., is the second largest banking institution headquartered in the state with assets over $15 billion and more than 140 banking centers in Michigan, Indiana and Georgia. In 2006, Flagstar added to its branch footprint by opening several new locations. With increased focus on attracting and acquiring new customers, Flagstar partnered with Harland to implement a turn-key, multi-contact onboarding program designed to quickly engage new customers after they opened checking accounts with the bank.

Flagstar’s Onboarding Program

Flagstar’s onboarding program capitalized on speed to market and on highly personalized service provided by Flagstar’s branch personnel. To achieve speed to market, Flagstar leveraged the initial check order processed by Harland to send new customers a well-craft ed, value-packed welcome letter. Triggered automatically by the new check order, the welcome letter contained four specific calls to action with a $100 cash incentive for customers who responded favorably to all four offers. The welcome letter was completely automated, requiring no effort or maintenance on behalf of the bank other than periodic updates to the offer and call to action. In addition to the welcome letter, new Flagstar customers received a personal call from branch personnel thanking them for their business.

The Results

Flagstar’s results were measured 11 months after implementation of the onboarding program. The bank measured the results between two groups—new customers who were included in the onboarding program and new customers who were not. Significant highlights include:

  • The bank increased the entire new customer population by close to 50 percent (the increase in the onboarding-eligible population was largely attributed to Flagstar’s branch openings)
  • Flagstar saw an 8 percent increase in the new customer cross-sell ratio
  • The number of single-service households among the new customer population decreased by 2 percent, while the number of customers with four or more accounts increased by over 44 percent

As an added benefit, the onboarding effort proved to be contagious. When branch personnel were actively working to delight new customers, they delighted existing customers as well. The overall impact to Flagstar’s cross-sell penetration ratio was very positive. To illustrate, at the start of Flagstar’s onboarding initiatives, only 35 percent of the bank’s customers had three or more accounts. However, after 11 months of the onboarding initiative, the percentage of Flagstar customers with three or more accounts increased to 44 percent, an improvement equating to 26 percent growth in multi-account households!

Future Enhancements

Flagstar plans to continue its onboarding initiatives using thank you calls and welcome letters that engage new customers with sticky products and services. As an enhancement to its efforts, Flagstar intends to use Harland’s targeted messaging solution, HarlandImpactSM, that leverages the checkbook to communicate valuable off ers to new customers and to build awareness for the bank’s brand.

“It’s very important that our customers feel comfortable with their selection of Flagstar as their financial services provider,” said Alessandro P. DiNello, executive vice president of retail banking for Flagstar Bank. “We want them to know—and to know quickly— just how pleased we are to have them as customers. Harland’s onboarding capabilities give us a turnkey solution that allows us to quickly communicate important messages to new customers and to begin building solid relationships with them.”


Financial institutions need to successfully onboard new accountholders so that they become profitable over time such that the income they generate exceeds the initial acquisition costs, as well as the cost to serve them. Onboarding programs like Flagstar’s increase a financial institution’s cross-sell ratios and move accountholders along the profitability continuum. A well-conceived and timely onboarding program enhances new accountholder relationships, creates organic growth and lays the foundation for developing long-term, profitable and mutually satisfying relationships.

To learn more about Harland’s onboarding capabilities, contact your Harland representative or call (866) 281-5788.

The Onboarding Opportunity

As new accountholders become actively engaged in the early months of a new fi nancial services relationship, attrition rates decline and the number of products and services accountholders have with their financial institution increases. The “Onboarding Opportunity” occurs by engaging new consumers as early in the relationship as possible in order to quickly capitalize on the revenue stream that multi-account consumers bring to their financial institution. In addition, as they open multiple accounts, the onboarding opportunity minimizes attrition rates at a time when attrition is typically at its highest levels.

Attrition Rates