What to do if your application for an account at a bank or credit union is being manually reviewed

A few things could happen after submitting your online application for an account with a bank or credit union.


The preferred outcome is that you’re congratulated on opening your new account. On the other end of the spectrum is the outright denial. Somewhere in the middle is a notification that certain pieces of information are needed in order to continue with the account opening. The only outcome worse than a denial is the dreaded message that reads something along the lines like, “Your application is being reviewed. We’ll contact you.” Though it’s not an outright denial, it’s vague, and can make one nervous.


Some financial institutions’ automated systems simply require more time to process your application. But, for some, a manual review process is employed. 


There are various reasons that a manual review could have been triggered. For some banks and credit unions, a manual application review is standard operating procedure. This is more likely to occur if you apply with a smaller financial institution. Information that you provided in your application and/or information that the bank retrieved about you from sources like credit bureaus could also trigger a manual review. In fact, this is likely the more common reason for a bank to have a live person review your application.


Regardless of the reason that your application isn’t approved instantly, the bank or credit union will contact you to gather more information and/or let you know the status of your application. But, this is where you could make a difference in whether or not your account is approved. While there’s no guaranteed way to get an approval, there are some an easy step that you could take to increase the likelihood that your application won’t be rejected.


Don’t wait for the bank or credit union to call you. Make the first move and contact them.


The purpose for initiating the contact is to humanize your application.


It’s easier for an employee to reject an application on their desk or computer. Chances are, they’re less likely to reject your application once they actually hear from you, a live person. 


It’s not just the human touch that may help your application avoid rejection. One reason that banks and credit unions require further review of some applications is because something in your application led them to believe that identity verification is needed. There are many easy ways that they could ask you to confirm your identity. But, believe it or not, some financial institutions will not put in much effort in conforming your identity. This could be for a number of reasons, including employee fatigue.  


This is when a call to the bank or credit union can be the most advantageous. Of course, this is more likely to be helpful if you know beforehand what’s in your consumer reports. If you know that the address or other info that you provided on your application may not match what’s in your consumer report, contact the company that you applied with and volunteer that information. By doing so, you’ve likely alleviated some of the work that the employee would have had to do to confirm your identity, thus, making it less likely that they’ll reject your application out of sheer fatigue.



Reasons to contact a bank or credit union after being told that your application is under review

  • You feel that something in your application or banking/credit history triggered the manual review.
  • You feel that the manual review might uncover other information that you might have to explain.
  • The account opening date is time-sensitive.


Whatever reason you decide to make the first contact after an “application under review” message, remember that the employee you are speaking with is a human being. Try to appeal to their emotions and sense of empathy. By doing so, you can create a connection with them and make your case more impactful.


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