Bank of Montreal has become the first Canadian bank to offer online chat facilities to customers applying for products over its Web site.
The innovation allows customers applying for personal loans online to break off from the form-filling and chat with a BMO mbanx Direct manager who can answer their questions and help them through the application process.
The bank cites statistics from a recent survey in which one US company experienced a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in application abandonment when it linked live customer support to its credit card application
"Increasingly, more and more people are choosing to go online," says Terry Fitzpatrick, vice-president, consumer lending, Bank of Montreal. "We've designed the online personal lending experience to be convenient, easy to use and an attractive alternative to the traditional loan application process. This new service underscores our commitment to providing simple, flexible solutions that meet our customers' changing needs."
Earlier this year, Bank of Montreal made all of its lending products available to customers online. Fitzpatrick says the bank is working on further site refinements to make borrowing easier and more convenient, including the integration of additional lending services. In a further effort to drive traffic to its site, the bank is wooing customers with a 0.65 per cent rate reduction for online applications that are received and approved by 31 January, 2001.
Kathleen O'Neill, EVP, BMO mbanx Direct, says the bank is looking at opportunities to implement the chat functionality elsewhere on its Web site. "Simplifying the process, making the transaction user-friendly and adding value are fundamental principles of our service commitment," she says.