2013: The Year of the Website Makeunder

Only a year ago, just about every bank and credit union website looked a lot like this one from Wells Fargo. Home pages were filled with laundry lists of products and services which were supposed to help users navigate more easily but, instead, the pages felt cluttered and they probably overwhelmed first-time visitors.

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I got pretty excited recently when a number of financial institutions radically transformed their websites. Most notably, ChaseCitibank and Bank of America all moved to much simpler designs that now incorporate pointed sales messages that are hard to miss.

Now other institutions following suit. South Carolina Federal Credit Union (FCU), with With $1.3B in assets, is one such example, as noted in a Credit Union Times article last week.  Like the big three, South Carolina FCU's home page design focuses visitors on a just a few key sales messages. They also use mega menus and a search bar to help visitors find what they need.

Home page

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Now other institutions following suit. South Carolina Federal Credit Union (FCU), with With $1.3B in assets, is one such example, as noted in a Credit Union Times article last week.  Like the big three, South Carolina FCU's home page design focuses visitors on a just a few key sales messages. They also use mega menus and a search bar to help visitors find what they need.

Home page

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Megamenu example

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The calls-to-action stand out prominently and, where there's more than one path a user can take, the site does a good job prioritizing the most desired action:

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One thing that they could have done much better relates to their product pages like the one above. Like most other institutions I've come across, South Carolina FCU uses product labels as headlines instead of using persuasive, benefit-driven lines and some of the copy feels superfluous. More importantly, the biggest benefit of any money market account—the interest rate—is hard to locate (there's a single text link at the bottom of the page). Even if the rate isn't all that competitive, if it's the primary product benefit (and in this case it is) it's up to the marketer to showcase it in the best possible light (not to bury it).

I've always thought that product pages on bank and credit union sites should feel a lot like well-designed landing pages and use the classic formula by combining:

  • A big, benefit-driven headline

  • A few, succinct sub-benefits

  • A clear and prominent call to action

One bank that understands this is Everbank. Their money market page clearly shows visitors what they want to see and the page is very well organized.

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Overall, South Carolina's FCU new, more focused site is a great example of what all financial institutions should do. I look forward to seeing others do the same in 2013.

Laurie

Laurie McLachlan is Vice President of Marketing at Andera, Inc, a financial technology vendor that provides account opening and lending solutions to banks and credit unions. Laurie has over a 10 years of experience in financial services marketing at organizations including JPMorgan Chase, First Marblehead Corporation and PerkStreet Financial.  She spent the first half of her career working for some of the nation's largest advertising agencies including Wunderman, Hill Holliday and Arnold Worldwide where she worked in a variety of categories including banking, automotive, insurance and packaged goods. You can see her articles on blog.andera.com.

Posted on January 9, 2013 .