The trend toward online account opening and the reasons for it are crystal clear to Quintin Sykes, managing director at Cornerstone Advisors. The move to online account openings reduces the risk of fraud. In the manual world, someone in a hurry might skip a step, might fail to pull a credit report, for example. In the online world, those steps are all embedded in the process and can't be skipped. Because online account opening is self-service, it saves the cost of paying a branch rep to open the account, and makes that person available to provide other services. When members open an account at Charlotte Metro CU, they go through a simple screening on the Web to see if they are eligible for membership. Then they pick the types of accounts they want and answer basic questions required for any account opening.