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Ally Financial Is Making Mortgages Digital and Playing Truth or Dare on Instagram
Brought to you by WBR Insights
As one of the first of the recent batch of digital-only banks, Ally Financial has a lot to live up to. With not a single physical branch to its name, Detroit-based Ally needs to make sure it's doing everything it can to make its online banking experience stand out from the crowd.
So far, it seems to be doing just that. Since its transformation, Ally Financial has acquired in excess of 1.9 million customers and $100 billion in deposits. The digital bank also claims an astonishing 90 percent customer retention rate, which it credits to a superior digital experience backed up by a talented support team of human employees, combined with constant innovative product evolution and fintech partnerships.
Just two of the ways this forward-thinking brand is connecting with its audience include changing the way mortgages are handled in the digital space and a unique Instagram campaign.
Facilitating mortgages in the digital realm is one of the bigger challenges facing online-only banking brands. It's not that arranging finance is difficult to achieve digitally, but it's not something that lots of consumers desire at this point in time.
While people generally prefer to carry out small everyday transactions online - such as balance transfers, payments, checking their balance, etc. - they still prefer to deal face-to-face when it comes to more complex and detailed processes such as opening new accounts and arranging mortgages. However, Ally Financial believes this attitude is ready to shift and is teaming up with online mortgage disrupter Better.com to help make it happen.
"Strategic partnerships are an important component of our growth strategy," said Ally Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, Dinesh Chopra. "At Ally Ventures, we look for companies that are disrupting their industries for us to invest in and partner with to bring innovative products to the market. We felt a strong strategic and cultural fit with Better.com. The mortgage industry is ripe for digitalization, and our investment and partnership will allow us to deliver an industry-leading digital mortgage experience."
By combining its own digital infrastructure with Better.com's robust online platform, Ally Financial believes it can create a truly digital mortgage experience and bring unprecedented speed and simplicity to the origination and funding process. Customers will be able to obtain pre-approval in as little as three minutes and get rates locked in within ten - all achieved online without speaking to a single human being - unless the customer wishes to.
Arranging a mortgage can be a lengthy and daunting task that involves travelling to and from your local branch for numerous meetings. With Ally Financial's new partnership with Better.com, the way we arrange mortgages could be changing very soon.
All the innovative digital platforms in the world mean naught if you can't attract people to your brand. Thankfully, Ally Financial has been excelling in this regard with a unique social media campaign.
As of mid-2018, Instagram had one billion active users. However, the important thing about Instagram regarding a digital bank such as Ally Financial is that it is particularly popular with young people - i.e. those who will make up the majority of the customer base in the very near future. 72 percent of US teenagers use Instagram, making it the most popular social network platform for this demographic, as well as 35 percent of adult internet users and 71 percent of young adults (18-24).
To engage with this rapidly-expanding audience, Ally Financial set up its own version of the classic party game, Truth or Dare. Ally had noticed a trend in that couples tend not to talk about money issues with one another, and so wanted to address this problem - and have a bit of fun along the way.
"I'm super fascinated by the idea of money taboos," said Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer at Ally, Andrea Brimmer. "Why in this country are we so afraid to talk about money? My philosophy is that I'm very open with my kids about money, but my husband has a completely different point of view. Let's say you find yourself deep into a relationship and you discover that your partner has $50,000 worth of student loans that you had no idea about. That's going to lead to a pretty big conversation - probably one that you should have had before you got really deep into the relationship."
The campaign had users choose a truth or dare option. If they chose "dare" they would be challenged to carry out tasks such as posting a video of them doing something silly. However, if they chose "truth" they would be asked a financial question, such as "When do you think a couple should merge bank accounts?" or "What's your definition of financial infidelity?"
The idea is that, by playing the game with one's partner, it will open up conversations about money which may have been avoided previously.
The Instagram campaign resulted in a 60 percent boost in followers for Ally Financial. It remains to be seen if it can crack the proverbial nut of online mortgage facilitation, but it's certainly making all the right moves to have the best chance possible.
Social media and digital mortgages are sure to be hot topics at Future Digital Finance 2020, taking place in March at the Hyatt Regency Miami, FL.
Download the agenda for more information and insights.