Key Bank Archives

Holiday Website Promos at the Top-20 Banks

By Jim Bruene on December 24, 2012 11:43 AM | Comments

In my annual look at holiday offerings from major banks, I found that Scrooge still roams the halls at many of the big names. Only eight of the 20 largest U.S. banks are using holiday-themed promotions or graphics (note 1). That's one more than last year, but still two less than 2010.

As usual, PNC Bank is the exception with their two-decade long holiday CPI (Christmas present index). BB&T, Comerica and Fifth Third are also festive this year with gift card promotions supported by seasonal graphics. And US Bank, Citi, Key and Regions Bank used some holiday imagery.   

The scrooge list: top-20 banks with no holiday promotions or graphics on Dec. 20): 
Bank of America, Bank of the West (BNP Paribas), Capital One, Chase, Citizens (RBS), Harris Bank (BMO), HSBC, ING Direct (Capital One), SunTrust, TD Bank, Union Bank (Mitsubishi UFJ), Wells Fargo

Following is a quick overview of the promotions, including a 1-to 5-bulb rating.

Previous year-end holiday posts: 2011 (big banks), 2011 (CUs/community banks), 2009 part 1, 2009 part 2, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004


Big banks in the holiday spirit
(rated 1 to 5 bulbs; screenshots from Thursday, Dec 20)

PNC Bank

  • Gift Hunt tied to its Christmas CPI (based on the song 12 Days of Christmas)
  • Visa Gift Card promo (in rotation of four homepage promotions)

Score: imageimageimageimageimage

Hompage: PNC is leading with its 12 days of Christmas price index


PNC Bank microsite with gift hunt link


Also running gift card promo in rotation


BB&T (20 Dec 2012)

  • Holiday themed graphic featuring mobile check deposit
  • Small ad for gift cards




Fifth Third

  • Rotation of three holiday themed promotions
    -- Holiday billpay sweeps
    -- New Years savings promo
    -- Gift cards





  • Prominent gift card promo across page and in lower-left corner




Key Bank

  • Holiday graphic, but no product promotion





  • Toy shopping background image




US Bank

  • Pitch for online banking, convenient while shopping



Regions Bank

  • Small saving money tips




1. Observations taken between 2pm and 3pm Pacific on Thurs Dec 20 from Seattle IP address, Chrome browser with no cookies
2. Animation from


Launching: KeyBank's "myControl Banking" Provides Balance Forecasting via Mobile App & Online Dashboard

By Jim Bruene on November 20, 2012 11:31 PM | Comments

imageKeyBank is launching a new online banking and mobile service called myControl Banking. The mobile app became available today in iTunes (link).

The service is centered around myMoney Forecast, a real-time balance forecast shown at the top of the screen (see inset below). It's a vital PFM function that looks a lot like Simple's Safe-to-Spend.

But there is one significant difference. Key Bank users can make the forecast more accurate by manually entering Money In or Money Out transactions before they clear the bank (for example, a just-written check, see bottom of first screenshot). The bank automatically nets out any pre-scheduled bill payments, transfers, or ACH items and adds in recurring regular paychecks and transfers in. 

Key Bnak mobile myMoney ForecastThe interface also includes a weekly cash flow calendar so users can monitor the flow of their funds. And up to five goals can be established and tracked within the app and/or online dashboard. 

The mobile app does not (yet) replace Key Bank's regular mobile app. Before using MyControl, customers must sign up for it within online banking.

Analysis: The introduction of MyControl Banking is a fantastic move. It delivers the key missing component of online banking, a peek at what's about to happen with cash flow, without making users slog through a bunch of PFM features they don't understand.

imageIt provides Key Bank with meaningful differentiation, and gives them a platform to add more PFM content in the future.

Because Key Bank's MyControl raises the bar in digital delivery, we are giving it our OBR Best of the Web award (note 2). We are also retroactively naming Simple as a co-winner since they commercialized a similar balance forecast earlier this summer.


Mobile checking & savings balance visualization with integrated transfer button (left) and goals (right)

Key Bank myControl Checking     KeyBank myControl Savings mobile

Key Bank myControl Banking landing page (link, 20 Nov 2012)



1. This post was developed from info available within the app, in the product video at and in the FAQs. But I don't have an account at Key Bank, and there is no interactive demo yet, so I haven't used the service with live data.  
2. Since 1997, our Online Banking Report has periodically given OBR Best of the Web awards to companies that pioneer new online- or mobile-banking features. It is not an endorsement of the company or product, just recognition for what we believe is an important industry development. In total, 88 companies have won the award. This is the first for Key Bank and Simple. Recent winners are profiled in the Netbanker archives.
3. For more on balance forecasting and other advanced PFM features, see our recent Online Banking Report: PFM 4.0 (June 2012; subscription).


Holiday Promotions at the Top-20 U.S. Banks

By Jim Bruene on December 21, 2011 4:38 PM | Comments

Since I began blogging in 2004, I've usually run a year-end post looking at the holiday marketing efforts of the top-20 U.S. banks (links below). This year, only 7 of the 20 banks are using holiday or seasonal imagery on their homepages. That's a decrease of 3 over last year.

As usual, PNC Bank is the gold standard for holiday bank promotions, with its long-running (25+ years) "cost of Christmas index" which quantifies the cost of procuring all the items mentioned in the famous song, "12 Days of Christmas." Following is a quick overview of the promotions, including a 1-to 5-bulb rating. 

Previous posts: 2010, 2009 part 1, 2009 part 2, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004


Big banks in the holiday spirit
(rated 1 to 5 bulbs)

PNC: Christmas cost index

  • Cost of Christmas based on the song 12 Days of Christmas

Score: imageimageimageimageimage



Landing page: Amazing microsite, wonderful graphics, and slow loading (link)


Fifth Third: holiday sweeps

  • Pay Your Bills sweeps with holiday graphics
  • Small ad with a card wrapped with ribbon which directs users to branches for "holiday shopping made easy," presumably for gift cards, but neither the ad nor the landing page make that clear

Score: imageimageimageimage


ING Direct: Mobile usage sweeps

  • 12 Days of Mobile sweeps

Score: imageimageimageimage


Landing page


Chase: sweeps and car loans

  • Winner Wonderland, credit card sweeps with one entry for every credit card purchase and 5 entries for every donation put on the Chase card
  • Add joy to your wallet, car refinance promotion

Score: imageimageimage


BB&T: Visa gift card

  • Small advertisement in lower right

Score: image image



TD Bank: Visa gift card

  • Small advertisement in lower right (below the fold on my laptop)

Score: image



Key Bank: gift cards

  • Very small gift-card promo, below the fold on my laptop and rotating with a half-dozen other items

Score: image




1. No holiday imagery on the homepages of BofA, Wells Fargo, Citibank, HSBC, US Bank, SunTrust, Capital One, Citizens, Regions, Harris, Bank of the West, Union Bank, Comercia
2. Screenshots taken from Ft. Myers, FL, IP address, between 7 and 8 PM, 20 Dec 2011    
3. Credit: Happy Holidays animation from


Key Bank Runs Timely "Pick Your President" Promotion

By Jim Bruene on November 4, 2008 10:39 AM | Comments

imageOverall, most major financial institutions do a good job with website design. But one thing usually lacking is timely tie-ins with events and holidays. Google is famous for doctoring its logo dozens of times each year to coincide with the national holidays and other big events. For example, for today's big presidential election, the logo has been changed into a voting booth.

Those efforts, while not always directly driving new business, keep the website fresh and show that the bank is paying attention to the events that impact users day to day. And the best ones can increase sales. By leveraging well-hyped events such as the Olympics or Super Bowl, financial institutions can gain valuable PR and attention from customers.

image I looked at 3 or 4 dozen large U.S. bank and credit union sites today and found just one riding the election hysteria to make a point. Key Bank's Pick Your President promotion (here) has nothing to do with McCain vs. Obama but is actually a clever way to convince customers to switch to electronic statements. Customers get $1 (George Washington) for every account switched to estatements and $5 (Abe Lincoln) if they take bill pay with that. The bank is also throwing in a pair of $1,000 sweeps prizes to add a few Benjamins to the mix.

Nice job, Key; our vote is with you.

Key Bank homepage with small banner for the Pick Your President promo
(4 Nov 2008)


Key Bank Pick Your President landing page (4 Nov 2008)



Key Bank Gives Away iPod nanos for Free Checking Accounts

By Jim Bruene on July 24, 2007 8:33 AM | Comments (3)

From a customer's perspective, this is a hot offer. Open a Key Bank free checking account. Make two automated deposits of $100 or more and take home an Apple iPod nano worth $150. The only downside, the tax bill next April for the $150 in implied interest.

I can't vouch for the ROI of a giving a $150 premium for a free checking account, but Key Bank has run thousands of marketing campaigns, and I trust their spreadsheets say this will pencil out. And they are not the first to give it a try. Citibank aggressively handed out iPod Minis with new checking accounts several years ago. North of the border, TD Canada Trust is also using the must-have music player in its promotion running through 7 August, handing out an iPod shuffle for a new checking account, an iPod nano for new checking plus a credit card, or full 30 GB version for all of the above and $5,000 in savings (see landing page below).

I'm not crazy about the TD ad, but it's hard to miss with the huge FREE IPOD next to the in-your-face picture. However, Key seems to be missing the mark. The bank succeeds in taking one of the most-sought-after gadgets in the past 20 years and making in nearly invisible on the page, rendering the device in grayscale and using red text that blends into the other red accents of the homepage. Compare that to the graphic above from Apple's store. Why not show one of the brighter colors to grab attention? Or use an animation to show all the colors. Yes, I know the non-silver versions have twice the capacity (4 GB instead of 2 GB) and cost $50 extra at retail, but that could be handled with an optional upgrade option, either for a nominal fee, or with additional services ala TD Canada Trust. 

Key Bank homepage with iPod offer (July 23, 2007)

Key Bank iPod offer landing page (July 23, 2007)

TD Canada Trust homepage with iPod offer (July 24, 2007)

TD Canada Trust iPod offer landing page (July 24, 2007)

Comments (3)

Key Bank Uses TV Advertising to Promote Deposits in its Saveday Promotion

By Jim Bruene on January 22, 2007 9:19 AM | Comments

Thursday night, as my son was Tivoing his way through the commercial breaks on The Office, I noticed a Key Bank logo at the end of the commercial break. I had him go back and play the 5-second spot which was teaser style with a brief voiceover, logo, and the URL:

Expecting to see an interesting web-based savings account marketing effort, I typed "key bank save" into Google and came up empty handed (see note 1). The first link was to a Key Bank loan application, and there were no sponsored results.

Key Bank error page for CLICK TO ENLARGENext, I tried connecting directly to the bank using what I remembered of the URL show in the TV spot, <>. I realized that was the wrong address when all I saw was an error page, which unfortunately contained no guidance on what to do next (see inset). Finally, I went to the Key Bank homepage and found a large banner announcing the program aimed at encouraging users to curtail their discretionary spending on a designated day (your "Save day") each week (see second screenshot below).

Key Bank homepage with Saveday banner CLICK TO ENLARGE

I'm like the idea of creating an interesting program to spur savings. For example, even though I didn't much like it initially (see post here), Bank of America's Save the Change does have a certain amount of appeal, at least from a marketing standpoint (see note #2).

And Centra Credit Union's <> new prize-based savings plan deserves a second look (thanks Doug True for the original post on this, here; see screenshot in note #3 below).

However, there isn't much to like about Key Bank's Saveday effort. The television spots may work as image advertising, but the website execution left a lot to be desired. Not only did the bank fail to support its television buy with search advertising, the landing page has little of interest besides the standard suite of savings calculators (see screenshot in note #4 below). There are no incentives, contests, or benefits to motivate a consumer to do something as unpleasant as giving up their daily latte.

While the bank does offer a handy PDF worksheet that can be printed out to calculate a monthly budget, there are no links or discussions of automated savings plan. Putting savings on auto-pilot is a much more powerful saving system than trying to get customers to sacrifice their caffeine one day per week.

There's also no interactive elements that might help get someone started. For example, why not send customers a text message to their phone or email each Saveday to encourage them to save.

However, the biggest blunder, is calling attention to the bank's incredibly low savings rates. For example, for a $10,000 saving balance, a typical amount in high-yield savings accounts, Key's three options paid a paltry 0.10%, 0.20% and 1.24% (see note #5). And no, those are not typos, that's two-tenths of a percent, in the KeySaver account, or a grand total of $1.66 per month, before tax. Not even enough to buy that cup of coffee the bank wants you to forego on your Saveday.

It takes a $25,000 balance to get above 1.24% in any of Key's savings accounts (note #6). And anyone who's managed to stash away that much in liquid savings probably doesn't need a Saveday.


1. Later we tried, "key bank saveday" and the first link was a press release on the promotion, but it was at a URL (see release here). Searching from a Seattle WiFi IP address in Seattle.

2. Bank of America has recently been touting the Save the Change debit card benefit in its usual excellent television ads.

3. Centra Credit Union Super Savings page

Centra Credit Union Super Savings landing page CLICK TO ENLARGE

4. Key Bank Saveday landing page

Key Bank Saveday landing page CLICK TO ENLARGE

5. Rates quoted on for zip code 98115 on 22 Jan 2007

6. Update Jan 30: According to a bank employee, a $25,000 deposit now pays 3% in Key Ultra Money Market which I confirmed online. And in markets where Key Bank doesn't have a branch presence, the rate is as much as 5.25% through Key Direct (see screenshot below).



Tracking Your Competitors' Search Marketing Efforts

By Jim Bruene on June 5, 2006 2:51 PM | Comments

Keycompete_logoAre you tracking the search marketing efforts of your competitors? If not, you should be. If you are, consider using KeyCompete <>, a $199/yr tool that identifies keywords used by your competition and the competition for your keywords.

Enter a URL and the Web-based service returns a list of keywords used by that company in its search engine marketing efforts. You can also do the opposite, enter a keyword or phrase, and see who's using it in their marketing efforts. Results are seen instantly on screen and can be downloaded into an Excel file.

Keycompete_list_keybankIt's a simple way to uncover new keyword opportunities. For example, we looked at Key Bank's current keyword buying (click on inset for details). The majority of their marketing is for boat loans and student loans. But without the KeyCompete tool we'd never know that the bank is advertising its K-12 private school tuition program, AchieverLoan, under obscure search terms such as "Massachusetts preparatory school" and "Addison private school" (see screenshot below).


The basic plan, which costs just $199/year, includes a personalized watchlist for URLs or keywords to make competitive monitoring that much easier. For an extra, undisclosed fee, the KeyCompete will provide more detailed reporting on your competition including:

  • approximate clicks per competitor's keyword
  • approximate cost per competitor's keyword
  • estimated overall keyword marketing expense

Overall, some good information to have in your back pocket for next year's budget request.



Key Bank Pulls the Plug on KeyNN

By Jim Bruene on December 14, 1997 3:57 PM | Comments

Key Bank

OLD: Key Bank’s innovative but ultimately ill-conceived Web debuted in August.

NEW: Key Bank’s new “serious” Web site replaces Kyle Kranium and the CNN knock-off.


KeyCorp (Cleveland, OH; $72.2 billion; 3.3 million ATM cards) When Key unveiled their novel Web in August 1996 we liked it. Here is what we said then, “In terms of unique, timely content of the news and entertainment variety, Key Bank’s is the most ambitious financial services Web out there.” But we also wondered if they were biting off too much, “Time will tell if they invest the necessary manpower to keep it up-to-date.”

After little more than a year, Key has indeed pulled the plug on Kyle and his entertaining Web, replacing it with a utilitarian site that goes overboard in the other direction. While the drop-down menu design is somewhat easier to navigate than the twisted paths you needed to follow in the old KeyNN version, the first page needs a better focus. Right now it looks like one of those Web sites to avoid; one that’s going to be more work than it’s worth. It also seemed slow, at least using my 28.8 Netcom dial-up connection. Also, both times I visited (Dec. 15 and Dec. 26), there was a broken link (e.g., clicking on the link led to nowhere) in the very first listing in the drop-down box in the upper righthand corner “I want to Select a Tool.”

Though the entry point to the Key Web needs to be reworked, overall we like the new version better. Why? First, it’s customizable, joining Bank of America, Fleet, and others offering user-defined Web views . But most importantly, Key’s Web is no longer pretending to be something it’s not: an entertainment vehicle. We think it will be very difficult to position a banking Web as a fun or entertaining place to visit on the Web. This is not to say you shouldn’t use humor on your Web. There is nothing wrong with a light-hearted approach now and again. But to try to hide all your financial services in the guise of an educational and entertaining experience is counterproductive.

Be realistic. The less consumers think about their bank the happier they’ll be. When they come to your Web, they are probably after some specific information, such as your 6-month CD rate, or their checking account balance. Making them wade through commentaries on the latest gyrations of the Dow Jones average will just send them to another site. Give them what they want, create a dialogue, then gently start cross-selling as you both get used to each other. Key has returned to its roots. Learn from their mistake.

Check back in six months. By then Key will have added account access, improved navigation, and added appropriate visual cues. We expect you’ll find one of the better banking Webs.

Contacts: Patrick Swanick is EVP Electronic Commerce; Steve Cone is EVP Marketing; Linda Najim is VP Online Services, 216.689.3000.

Categories: Key Bank

Key Bank Launches Online Banking

By Jim Bruene on August 20, 1997 7:18 PM | Comments

Key Bank

KeyCorp (Cleveland, OH; $67 billion; 3.3 million ATM cards) finally launched online banking services in an arrangement with Intuit. The first customers began quietly going online in May. Other online options are promised by year-end, including Web access, Microsoft Money, and QuickBooks. Key is the last of the top 20 U.S. retail commercial banks to offer online account access. The product launch is very low-key so far. Its Web contains a lone paragraph, that simply tells customers to buy Quicken 6 and follow the online enrollment instructions in the software. Key isn’t even listed on Intuit’s partners page . The bank is wisely holding its marketing dollars back until it has a proprietary Web-based program in place, though it could expand its Web-based information a bit.

Contact: Patrick J. Swanick is EVP Electronic Commerce; Linda J. Najim is VP, 216.689.3000.

Categories: Intuit, Key Bank

Upcoming Events



RSS Subscribe via RSS
RSS Subscribe to Comments


@NetBanker Twitter Feed

See all @NetBanker tweets