|By Jim Bruene on September 5, 1997 11:00 PM | Comments|
Crestmark (Troy, MI; $28 million) proves once again that big isn’t necessarily better. The tiny Michigan branchless business bank has put together a simple, yet effective site. If you don’t have a lot of time and money to invest in a Web presence, follow Crestmark’s example.
Everything on the site is straightforward from the clear mission statement on the first page to the alphabetical listing of officers with phone and e-mail addresses. This site doesn’t waste a word. It informs and sells without the layers of fluff we’ve come to expect from the typical “corporate Web.” We think harried business owners will appreciate Crestmark’s “let’s get down to business” approach.
Yet the bank still manages to intersperse a few tongue-in-cheek doses of humor to break the monotony. For example, at the bottom of the first page of the bank’s online brochure it says, “For more riddles not created by our marketing department, click here.” One bit of advice: lose the picture of the vault. It’s meant to be a joke but it doesn’t work. Vaults aren’t funny.
Netscape pioneered the use of an icon to highlight a link the company would like you to click on (in Netscape’s case to download its browser). Crestmark uses the same approach within the confines of its Web with this button.
Crestmark wants you to click on this.
The button rotates between three things: $$$ (shown), loans and CDs. Clicking on the button takes the user to a screen that says:
Would you like to:
- put money in our vault?
- take money out of our vault?
As we’ve said before, the primary reason non-customer business owners will visit your Web is in the neverending search for credit. If you like that idea, you’d better put “loans” front and center on your small biz Web. Crestmark does a good job in that regard. The link to the loan area is prominent on the first page. And once inside users are treated to a simple explanation of the “3 basic ways to finance a business” (see shaded box below). Finally, if you’re a $28 million bank, it doesn’t hurt to post that FDIC logo prominently on every page.
Crestmark’s Three Basic Ways
to Finance a Business
1. Loans - Companies can use lines of credit to finance working capital and term loans to finance the machinery, real estate, or other fixed assets. Loans may be secured, guaranteed and due on demand.
2. Asset Sale - Cash can be generated by selling accounts receivable, called factoring, or the sale and lease-back of machinery & equipment, simply referred to as leasing .
3. Equity - Selling a piece of the ownership of a business provides cash without requiring interest payments or fees. Money is returned when the business is sold or goes public.
Source: Crestmark’s Web, 9/18/97
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