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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

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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

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PNC Bank microsite with gift hunt link

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Also running gift card promo in rotation

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BB&T (20 Dec 2012)

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

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Fifth Third

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

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Comerica

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

imageimageimageimage

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Key Bank

  • Holiday graphic, but no product promotion

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Citibank

  • Toy shopping background image

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US Bank

  • Pitch for online banking, convenient while shopping

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Regions Bank

  • Small saving money tips

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Notes:
1. Observations taken between 2pm and 3pm Pacific on Thurs Dec 20 from Seattle IP address, Chrome browser with no cookies
2. Animation from http://www.millan.net/anims/christmas.html#

Comments

Everbank Takes Gold in Change Sciences Ranking of Small Biz Banking Online Sales, BB&T is Runner-up

By Jim Bruene on August 6, 2012 10:58 AM | Comments

Small Biz Banking Ranking from Change SciencesI've had a consumer account at Everbank since shortly after it launched in 1998. And I've continued to be a fan, both of the bank, and of its co-founder and product-guru Rob Foregger's subsequent work at Personal Capital and others. But I hadn't realized that Everbank excelled on the small biz side.

Change Sciences, which quantifies and compares bank user experience in various verticals, ranked Everbank #1 in its just-published report (subscription) on online sales of small-business banking services.

As you can see from the methodology below, Change Sciences is looking at the discovery and sales process for small biz banking, not the actual online banking experience itself.

Everbank took first by a solid 3-point margin over runner-up BB&T. Most of the big banks were bunched just below BB&T. PNC Bank and US Bank were just a point lower and BofA was just two points lower. SunTrust and Wells also finished four points under BB&T.

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Everbank offers an extensive menu of business benefits via mouseover dropdown menu (6 Aug 2012)

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Note: Change Sciences methodology (from its website)

Each site is evaluated (via desktop browser) against a series of criteria by a Change Sciences analyst. The analyst reviews pages and screens that are part of a critical user task. As the tasks are evaluated, the analyst does three things:
• Looks for predefined user-experience characteristics and features.
• Evaluates the page for ease of use or usability, and applies heuristics accordingly.
• Looks for unexpected enhancements, which we call pleasant surprises.

Tasks evaluated:
• Getting a first impression
• Learning about the bank’s approach to its small-business customers
• Finding out about checking and lending products
• Learning about online banking
• Getting to apply options

Comments

Change Sciences Names PNC Virtual Wallet Best Bank PFM with Mint.com a Close Second

By Jim Bruene on March 27, 2012 5:51 PM | Comments

image Researcher Change Sciences has been doing outstanding work in financial user experience for more than a decade. In the last year alone, they've published deep dives in online, mobile, social media, mortgage, small business, investing, and account opening. The company counts most of the major players as customers; typical reports cost $5,000.

Its latest, published this week, contains a much-needed look at the UI of personal financial manager (PFM) services offered through major banks.

The winner? PNC Bank, which not only took top honors for its Virtual Wallet, but also claimed the number-three spot for Wealth Insight, a service geared to high-net-worth clients, launched last September. Both PNC PFMs were designed in conjunction with IDEO.

Mint.com came in a close second followed by the biggest surprise of the survey Bank Simple, which tied with USAA as the second-highest scoring bank. 

For more info, download the research fact sheet.

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Overall PFM Ranking
points on Change Sciences scorecard

PFM ranking from Change Sciences
Source: Change Sciences, March 2012

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Notes:
1. Image from Italian band PFM <pfmpfm.it>
2. For our take on PFMs, see our May 2010 Online Banking Report.

Comments

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

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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

Homepage

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

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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

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ING Direct: Mobile usage sweeps

  • 12 Days of Mobile sweeps

Score: imageimageimageimage

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Landing page

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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

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BB&T: Visa gift card

  • Small advertisement in lower right

Score: image image

Homepage

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TD Bank: Visa gift card

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

Score: image

Homepage

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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

Homepage

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Notes:
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 LayoutSparks.com

Comments

Holiday Marketing at the Top 20 U.S. Banks

By Jim Bruene on December 23, 2010 2:43 PM | Comments (1)

image For five of the seven Decembers I've spent blogging, I've perused the holiday Web-based marketing efforts of the 20 largest U.S. banks. This year, 10 jumped on the holiday bandwagon, an increase of 67% over the six last year. In 2004, only 4 of the 20 were running holiday promotions (on Dec. 21).

Previous posts: 2009 discussion, 2009 screenshots, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004

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

PNC: 12 Days of Christmas index (23 Dec. 2010, 1:00 PM Pacific)
Quick take: Rotating spot, prominent, seasonal graphics, unique, leads to microsite
Score: imageimageimageimageimage

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TD Bank: gift cards
Quick take: Prominent spot, not rotating, seasonal graphics, fits in well with entire green homepage
Score: imageimageimageimageimage

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Regions: gift cards and rewards
Quick take: Rotating spot, prominent, seasonal graphics, small corner graphic
Score: imageimageimageimage

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Fifth Third: gift cards
Quick take: Rotating spot, prominent, seasonal graphics, small graphic in upper right
Score: imageimageimageimage

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Bank of the West (BNP Paribas): POP Money (p2p payments)
Quick take: The first promotion on a three-ad rotation, pushes P2P payments as a holiday gift-giving option, the first time we've seen that (updated 12/25 because we missed it the first time we looked at the site)
Score: imageimageimageimage

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Harris (BMO): gift card
Quick take: Rotated with five spots, seasonal graphic, quick animation, not very prominent
Score: imageimageimage

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ING Direct: seasonal graphic
Quick take: Seasonal graphic, prominent location, leads to landing page
Score: imageimageimage

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Chase: gift cards
Quick take: Small ad, minor seasonal graphics
Score:  image image

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Key Bank: gift card
Quick take: Prominent position with no rotation, no seasonal graphic
Score: imageimage

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Bank of America: cash rewards card
Quick take: Small ad with seasonal graphic 
Score: image

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The scrooge list (top-20 banks with no holiday promotions or graphics on Dec. 23): 
BB&T, Capital One, Citibank, Citizens (RBS), Comerica, HSBC, SunTrust, Union Bank (Mitsubishi UFJ), US Bank, Wells Fargo

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Note: I either have accounts with, and/or previous visits to, all 20 banks which could alter what's shown on the homepage.

Comments (1)

Debit Card Overdraft Protection: 2 Steps Forward, 1.9 Back

By Jim Bruene on July 13, 2010 5:55 PM | Comments

image So far, I'm underwhelmed with the industry's online marketing response to the new opt-in debit card OD protection regulations. I expected to see new pricing models transforming small overdrafts into a value-add for debit card users, rather than the onerous penalty they had become over the past few years.

On the positive side, the elimination of OD charges for small transactions is a good first step. Three of the five FIs in our mini-survey have dropped fees on ODs of less than $5 (PNC and GTE Federal) or $10 (U.S. Bank). And Wells even makes a bit of a game out of it: Customers who cover the OD during the same day incur no fee.

And Bank of America has just thrown in the towel on the whole notion, running full-page ads (p. A11 in today's WSJ; Overdraft Control landing page) saying they'll just deny any attempt to overdraw via debit card. The retail giant joins Citibank and ING Direct, which already followed the same approach.

But financial institutions are missing an opportunity here. Take Wells Fargo, for example. When I ran across the bank's new homepage ad for debit card OD protection (see first screenshot), I expected to click through and find a novel take on the new federally mandated opt-in requirement (see second screenshot).

Wells does a good job explaining how the new rules benefit customers (the two steps forward): 

  • The bank's website copy is understandable and nicely outlines the lower-cost credit line, and savings account transfer options are offered
  • The toll-free number to sign up is prominent, although where's the online signup option? 
  • Great to see online and mobile balance-tracking tools offered up to help avoid overdrafts in the first place
  • My favorite: Customers are allowed to cover the overdraft during the same day and avoid the charge

But much of that uptick in consumer goodwill is negated when you get to the pricing:

  • Debit card overdrafts are $35 each, with a maximum of 4 per day, or a $140 daily penalty if you opt in and make a mistake coffee-shop (or more likely bar-) hopping some weekend.

In a spot check of other financial institutions, it's clear that Wells Fargo is far from alone in the $30 per item price range:

  • US Bank will charge $10 per overdraft of $20 or less and $33 for all others; it will charge for up to 3 ODs and 3 returned items for up to 6 per day; there's a $25 fee if you don't pay back within a week, but no charge for any item that results in less than $10 in total negative balance.
  • Fifth Third Bank will charge $25 for the first overdraft each year, $33 for the next three, then $37 each after that; maximum of 10 per day; $8 per day after the third day it's not paid back; no OD charge if negative balance is $5 or less.
  • PNC Bank charges $36 per item up to 4 per day, plus $7/day the account is overdrawn for a maximum of 14 days.
  • GTE Federal Credit Union is charging $29 each, with no charge on under-$5 items (blog post, Facebook post)

I just don't see customers being too pleased with the price/value here. Wouldn't customers, and shareholders, be better served with a value-based pricing strategy? How about $5 each for an under-$100 mistake? Or follow the telecom model and sell debit card overdraft protection as a $4.95/mo subscription.

By my simple math, a million customers paying $5/mo is a whole lot more revenue than a few thousand paying $35 a pop. Then there are all the side benefits: customer goodwill, reduced customer service headaches, positive word-of-mouth, and the PR/marketing value of making debit overdrafts into a real service.

Debit card OD link on Wells Fargo homepage (13 July 2010)

Wells Fargo homepage showing debit card OD ad

Landing page (link)
Click to enlarge

Wells Fargo debit overdraft landing page

image Note: Upper-right graphic from Horizons North Credit Union, which is charging $25 per item, with no limit on the number. The opt-in ad is a huge part of its current homepage (inset, click to enlarge).

Comments

PNC Bank Pitches Rewards Program at Logout

By Jim Bruene on June 28, 2010 9:21 AM | Comments (1)

image The logoff page is one of the most important marketing platforms available to financial institutions (see note). The latest example: PNC Bank's logoff screen delivered last week after leaving my Virtual Wallet (VW) account (see first screenshot below).

I like the two-column design with useful info on the left side for someone who's just logged out and on the right a simple eye-catching advertisement for the bank's free rewards program, PNC Points. A single Enroll Today button makes it easy to figure out what to do next, although that direct approach is not carried through on the landing page (second screenshot).

Overall, it's a good effort, but I noticed something slightly off -- the lack of VirtualWallet branding after logging out. The page is branded PNC Online Banking, and the two choices in the left box are:

  • Return to PNCVirtualWallet.com
  • Return to PNC.com

At minimum, the second choice isn't worded correctly since I just left my VW account. Worst case, it leaves customers wondering why the bank doesn't know where they came from. I assume the bank is using the same logout screen for both regular and VW customers and that everyone is accustomed to it by now. Still, it would be better to continue the VW experience all the way through logout.

PNC Bank logoff screen (24 June 2010)

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Landing page (link)
Surprisingly, after choosing Enroll Today on the logout page above, users go to another sales page, with a less prominent Enroll button buried in the lower right. Instead of this roundabout process, users should go directly to the enroll page. 

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Note: For more information on login/logoff marketing see our Online Banking Report: Selling Behind the Password published April 2009.  

Comments (1)

PNC Virtual Wallet Redefines the Online Banking User Experience

By Jim Bruene on May 22, 2010 9:00 AM | Comments (1)

image I have been using my new PNC Virtual Wallet account for a week now (previous coverage of the application process). The account takes a novel approach to core online banking and money management. Honestly, the user experience is so different, I’m still digesting it.

I think I love it, but I want to make sure it’s not just the novelty I’m attracted to. And that it really makes sense for users to interact with their bank accounts this way. I cover the PFM/OFM features in the most recent Online Banking Report and will publish a complete analysis in the future. But <spoiler alert>, I’ll reveal the account’s secret now.

Calendar view.

PNC did not invent the calendar approach to tracking finances. Most of the OFM/PFMs and online banking platforms we’ve had on stage in Finovate during the past three years, eg. Mint, Fiserv, Metavante, Intuit and others, have it. 

But Virtual Wallet (VW) defaults to calendar view. And they don’t let you change that. If you are a VW user, you will be managing your finances in calendar-flow mode. The designers took a risk here, but I think it pays off. They are targeting younger users, who have not grown up viewing reverse-chronological transaction lists, so why not train them from the get-go in how to manage the past, present, and future on a single page.

The first time you log in, the software asks when you get paid so it can add those happy events to your cash-flow calendar. Then as soon as you start making transactions they show up on the calendar along with your current balance in a blue bar at the top of each date (see screenshot below). Also, future events such as bill payments, are shown on the appropriate day to keep you from overdrawing your account.

It’s a good way to see what’s happening. But it also seems like a little more work. Like I said, I’m still evaluating the user experience tradeoffs here.

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The Pig
image As much as I enjoy exploring the big-picture ramifications of this new user experience, the real reason I finally opened a VW account is for the pig. Maybe it’s the Iowa boy in me, but I’m a sucker for pigs.

VW has a cute feature, admittedly aimed at somewhat younger customer than your typical banking industry analyst, that allows you to make a checking-to-savings transfer by punching the pig graphic at the top of the screen (note 2). And the oinking sound, followed by a the cash register, kaching, punctuates the transfer perfectly.

But it was a little annoying to have to confirm each punch with a popup window asking if I really did want to send $1 to my savings account (see note 1). How about just building an undo button to protect those who get a little carried away clicking that little oinker (see the pig in the upper right in screenshot).  

Notes
1. Users can change the default transfer amount so that punches are equal to more than $1. 
2. Users can customize the look and sounds their pig makes. I switched mine to an orange flame motif, which I’m not sure my farming ancestors would approve of.
3. We awarded PNC’s Virtual Wallet with an OBR Best of the Web in our recap of the most important innovations of 2008 (OBR here).
4. For more on adding appropriate online financial management (OFM) features to your online banking offering, see our latest OBR published just yesterday: Online Financial Management 3.0.

Comments (1)

PNC Bank’s Online Application Process is Virtually Perfect

By Jim Bruene on May 4, 2010 6:44 PM | Comments (1)

image I've been a fan of PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet since it launched in 2008 (previous post here and here). The combined savings/checking functions, youth orientation, PFM features, and overall user experience are intriguing. I've sampled the demo, watched the videos and read about it for two years. But I've never owned the account to experience it from the end-user perspective.

Today, I finally opened one. While I still must wait 24-48 hours to view it online, I am pleased to report that the Andera-powered online account opening processed without a hitch. It took just 4 or 5 minutes, not counting digesting the 50+ pages of disclosures and account documentation which I saved but did not read.

I'll not go through the entire process here and instead save it for an upcoming Online Banking Report (also see note below). However, I did want to point out that the PNC has the best account-opening confirmation screen I've yet seen. Here are the key elements (see corresponding letters on screenshot below):

A. Thank-you message at the top, though it could be more distinctive. I missed it the first time I looked at the screen. After spending perhaps many hours researching account options, choosing PNC, and making a real deposit, users deserve a more enthusiastic response.

B. PNC account number (masked in the screenshot)

C. Confirmation number and a recap of the account name and deposit amount

D. Specific information on what happens next

E. A toll-free number and links to email for questions

Great work PNC and Andera.

Final screen in PNC Bank's Andera-powered online opening process (4 May 2010)

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Note: For more info on online account opening, see the report we published last summer.  

Comments (1)

PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet Offers Three Ways to Put Your Savings on Autopilot

By Jim Bruene on April 6, 2010 5:15 PM | Comments

imageIf PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet, launched in July 2008 (previous post), worked with any bank account instead of just PNC's, it would have hundreds of thousands of users instead of the 60,000 or so estimated by Compete.

From the outside it's hard to know whether the strategy has paid off for PNC. It depends on the profitability of these customers, how many were new to the bank, and how much was invested in the effort. 

imageThe Virtual Wallet contains several superb products wrapped in an inviting user interface.  No wonder it's won so many awards, including an OBR Best of the Web from us. The eight awards are shown in a scrollbar at the bottom of the homepage (see inset).

One thing the wallet does better than most is try to make savings less painful or even fun (see last week's post about making banking fun). There are three ways users can boost their savings rate (see inset from PNC's demo):

  • imageEstablish automated savings transfers at various times of the month
  • Set up a savings amount to be transferred every time a bill is paid (same concept as Bank of America's Keep the Change)
  • And my favorite, Punch the Pig. Every time you hit the animated pig, a certain amount of cash is transferred to the Growth (savings) account.


Note
: For more information on the PFM space, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance Features (new report available in April). For more on deposits, see Online Banking Report: Growing Your Deposits in the Digital Age (Dec. 2008).

Comments

Screenshots of Holiday Promotions at Top-20 US Banks

By Jim Bruene on December 24, 2009 10:15 AM | Comments

Here are the screenshots that support our previous blog entry.

Holiday Promotions and Themes from Top-20 Banks

5. PNC Bank (22 Dec. 2009)

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Landing page <pncchristmaspriceindex.com>
Note: According to Compete, received 25,000 unique visitors in Dec. 2008

image28_thumb

 13. TDBank (22 Dec.)
Note: The promotion was gone when we checked back today (24 Dec.)

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Landing page

image7_thumb

14. Citizens (RBS) (22 Dec.)
Note: The gift ad was gone when we checked back today (24 Dec.), but the free electronic calendar (to the left of the gift ad) was still running.

image13_thumb

Landing page

image10_thumb

15. Regions (22 Dec.)

image16_thumb

16. Fifth Third Bank (22 Dec.)

image22_thumb

17. ING Direct (24 Dec.)

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20. Harris Bank (BMO)
Note: The points ad had been pulled down when we checked back this morning (24 Dec.)

image25_thumb

Note:
1. Previous Netbanker December holiday-marketing posts (2007, 2006, 2006, 2004)
2. Rankings based on deposit on 31 Dec. 2008 (list here)

Comments

Banking the Holidays: 2009 Edition

By Jim Bruene on December 24, 2009 10:41 AM | Comments

imageIt's a bit of a holiday tradition at Netbanker (note 1), checking out the top-20 banks to see if they've upped their retail game during the year-end holiday period. Or at least pushed out a holiday greeting to visitors, such as Google's greeting to Gmail users yesterday (inset). 

It was pretty much business as usual at most large bank sites. The only top-10 bank with any major holiday message this week was PNC Bank, with its clever Christmas Price Index, which values the items listed in the 12 Days of Christmas song. The total this year: $21,500, up 1.8% over 2008 (press release).

PNC has calculated the price index for 26 years and displays a bar graph at their CPI microsite (below). It's been online for a number of years; we first blogged about it in 2004.

This year, we surfed the 20 largest U.S. banks on Dec. 22 and Dec. 24 (screenshots are in the next post; note 2). On the first visit, we found six top-20 banks with a holiday mention on the homepage (rank in parenthesis). We took a tour again this morning expecting to find a few more holiday messages. There was only one newcomer, ING Direct, and surprisingly, three of the original six had pulled down their holiday ads already. In all only four top-20 banks have a holiday message today (24 Dec., 9 AM Pacific time). 

December 22 December 24
5. PNC Bank 5. PNC Bank
13. TD Bank 15. Regions Bank
14. Citizens (RBS) 16. Fifth Third
15. Regions 17. ING Direct
16. Fifth Third  
20. Harris Bank (BMO)  

Luckily, an astute reader emailed yesterday to let us know that their bank was decked out in the holiday spirit, $2 billion (deposits) Union Bank and Trust (below) headquartered in Bowling Green, Virginia.

Union Bank & Trust (24 Dec. 2009)

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Note:
1. Previous Netbanker December holiday-marketing posts (2007, 2006, 2006, 2004)
2. Rankings based on deposits on 31 Dec. 2008 (list here)

Comments

How Many iPhone Banking Apps Will There Be?

By Jim Bruene on November 12, 2009 6:02 PM | Comments

image Are you tired of hearing "there's an app for that" yet? Well, get used to it, we are still at the beginning of the great app rollout

Even as recently as our iPhone Banking Report published in March, I assumed most financial institutions would have a single iPhone app. One bank. One app. It's how the Web worked, for the most part.  

But when Starbucks unveiled a dedicated app just for its stored-value card (separate from the main Starbucks brand app), I realized that I wasn't thinking big enough.

For example, in August PNC Bank become the first U.S. financial institution to offer multiple apps when it released an app for its Gen-Y-focused Virtual Wallet. That was followed last week by Wells Fargo when it unveiled its cash-management app for larger businesses, CEO Mobile (screenshot below; press release).

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image Now, I believe that each major bank will roll out dozens of apps, perhaps hundreds, to support their business lines, major products and large segments. There will be an app for each major affinity credit/debit card, one for students, one for small businesses, one for large business, one for senior checking, one for home equity lines, and so on.

And, if that's not enough, there could be a dedicated app for each stock broker, loan officer and mortgage broker. There could be one app for every branch, neighborhood, or region. Right now the search-and-discovery tools at Apple would implode under the weight of all these apps. But they'll figure that out. It's worth billions to them. 

Today, more than 100,000 apps are available for the iPhone. But fewer than 20 are for U.S. financial institutions. It's conceivable that in the banking vertical itself, well over 10,000 apps could be developed, possibly many tens of thousands (see notes 1, 2). 

Wells Fargo is first U.S. bank with a cash management iPhone app (12 Nov 2009)

image          image

Notes:
1. They won't all be iPhone apps. The mobile market is too big to have it all consolidated at one player. 
2. It's also conceivable that we'll move away from the dedicated app framework, and users will be able to configure their phones with hundreds of info feeds without needing to install an app for each one. More like the iGoogle portal model.  It will be fascinating to see how it plays out.

Comments

PNC Bank Does a Great Job Packaging Business Banking Benefits into its CFO Account, but Misses Mobile

By Jim Bruene on August 19, 2009 7:39 PM | Comments

imageToo often we don't give online business banking the coverage it deserves, both here and in Online Banking Report (note 1). Online services can be far more valuable for a business customer than for the average consumer. But consumer services, with bigger advertising budgets and much more press coverage, tend to be more visible when we search for examples of financial innovations.  

image That's why I was especially intrigued with the PNC Bank ad in the Aug/Sep issue of BusinessWeek SmallBiz magazine. Not only had PNC Bank shelled out for a full-page ad (p. 20, see inset; note 2), the creative was interesting and included a tease for the CFO product combined with easy-to-recall URL <pnc.com/cfo>.  

The new account, cleverly dubbed PNC|CFO, an acronym for Cash Flow Options, covers all the major headaches of business owners:

  • Accelerate accounts receivable
  • Improve your outgoing payments
  • Invest your cash wisely
  • Access information online
  • Ensure access to cash (note 3)

Analysis
Naturally, I was most interested in the second-to-last bullet, online information. The audio-visual online banking demo is thorough, but surprisingly neglects mobile banking services. The only mention of mobile banking is at the end of the last paragraph on the online banking landing page. With business owners increasingly tethered to their businesses via Blackberry or iPhone, mobile capabilities should be front-and-center. 

The other thing missing from the web-based marketing: a human connection. The main call-to-action is the big orange Contact Request button (see screenshot below). Presumably a biz banker will quickly get on the horn and make that connection. However, the bank should make it clear that they have a bevy of qualified bankers available to usher new clients into the CFO account.

Simply changing the button to Contact a Business Banker would be an improvement. But I'd also like to see a bullet point that talks about customer  service. The only thing I saw was a few generic screenshots in the online demo which talked about responding to most questions "within 24 hours." That doesn't make the reader feel particularly special.

Finally, a small rant about the bank's contact form. I received error messages the first three times I attempted to submit it. Evidently, commas are not allowed in the company name or address fields. That not good programming and creates a needless poor first impression. There's is also no space in the form for comments from prospective customers. PNC Bank has been on the web for 14 years, it should have flawless forms (note 4).

Grade: Overall, I really like what PNC is doing so I'll give the marketing site an A for design and B- for execution.

Landing page for PNC's Cash Flow Options service (link, 19 Aug 2009)

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PNC new account "contact me" form with error message

image

Notes:
1. Our last report on Online Small Business Banking is available here (June 2004).
2. Key Bank (p. 9) and Bank of America (p. 29) also bought full pagers.
3. The bank is referring to credit lines and loans; I'm not sure why they didn't state that more clearly. Access to cash sounds more like a checking account feature.
4. While I'm at it, here are a few more minor flaws: (a) Even though I made two errors in the form, the error message only identified the first one; (b) When an error is made, the form automatically clears the checks in the bottom column of boxes; (c) The bank has neglected to turn off auto-fill (at least in Firefox 3.0) in the "confirm your email" field. 

Comments

PNC Bank Launches iPhone Mobile Banking in Apple App Store

By Jim Bruene on February 12, 2009 4:42 PM | Comments (3)

image You'd think that seven months after Apple launched the App Store for the iPhone, it would no longer be news when a U.S. bank adds an application to the store.

It's not like a cost-prohibitive slotting fee is involved. Developers pay Apple exactly zero dollars to be listed in the store (note 1). Apple's revenue is from the 30% share of any fees charged for an app. All the bank apps are free, so that's not an issue.

But it is news since the addition of PNC Bank two weeks age (app here) brings the grand total of bank-specific apps to four, five if you count PayPal. Even if you include the several dozen banks supported by Firethorn's multi-bank app, there are still no more than 40 banks supported (note 2). And there's not a single credit union, yet. 

Here are the five App Store participants in order of their appearance:

Wells Fargo has an iPhone app, but it's not yet shown up in the official App Store.

PNC mobile banking app
PNC's entry is a full-featured app powered by mFoundry. Along with balance and transaction activity, it includes bill pay, funds transfer, and an ATM finder with location-based capabilities. Users must enable mobile banking from within online banking in order to use the app.

The app has risen from number 17 in the Finance category a week ago to 13 today (note 3). However, the app has not yet made it to the PNC website (note 4).

PNC iPhone App screenshots (11 Feb 2009)

image        image

image

Notes:
1. The app does need to be approved by Apple, a process that can take weeks or longer.
2. Users can also track thousands of financial institutions through Mint or PageOnce.
3. Bank of America is #1, Chase is #4, PayPal is #5, Mint is #6, Firethorn is #9.
4. A PNC.com site search for "iphone" yielded just one result, an iphone listed in a mobile banking compatibility table. (Off topic: Note to PNC Bank, your site search doesn't function in Firefox 3.0).
5. For more information on the market, see our Online Banking Report on Mobile Banking and the latest forecast in last month's Online Banking Report Online & Mobile Forecast.

Comments (3)

PNC Mobile Banking Offered through Verizon's Website

By Jim Bruene on November 3, 2008 5:58 PM | Comments (1)

Verizon Wireless mobile phone users can now download PNC Bank mobile banking directly from the Verizon Wireless site (here). The free service, powered by mFoundry, is housed in the Features & Downloads area (see first screenshot below).

However, unlike Firethorn's mobile banking app which carries a "recommended" endorsement from the wireless carrier (see second screenshot), the PNC Bank app is found only via site search (see last screenshot). The PNC app is currently not available via browsing the business apps.

Users may click on the Send to Phone button, a shortcut that sends an application directly to their mobile phone for easy downloading. Both mobile banking applications are free.

PNC Mobile Banking app on Verizon Wireless site (3 Nov 2008)

image

Search results for "banking" at Verizon's Tools & Applications area
(3 Nov 2008)

image

Firethorn's mobile banking app is recommended at the Verizon site
(3 Nov 2008)

image

Note:
1. For more information on the market, see our Online Banking Report on Mobile Banking.

Comments (1)

Online Personal Finance Traffic More than Doubles; PNC Virtual Wallet Grabs Second Place

By Jim Bruene on October 23, 2008 6:53 PM | Comments (3)

image As I was drilling into the latest Compete traffic numbers for the annual Online Banking Report planning issue, I noticed a significant uptick in traffic to online personal finance specialists, almost across the board.

Sept. traffic revealed a total of 1.2 million unique visitors (note 1) compared to less than 400,000 a year ago. Not surprisingly, consumers appear to be taking a closer look at their finances. 

The big three newcomers last year: Mint, Wesabe, and Geezeo saw combined traffic increase by 450,000 users, a nearly three-fold increase from 2007. Geezeo was the star percentage-wise, growing more than six-fold. But Mint accounted for three-fourths of the net gain across the existing players with 330,000 more visitors (see Table 1 below):

Also, two newcomers made a big splash last month:

  • PNC Virtual Wallet launched in July (coverage here) by PNC Bank, which trailed only Mint last month with nearly 140,000 unique visitors (see 2 below).
  • Rudder (a relaunch of Spendview) drew 50,000 visitors last month after its launch at DEMOfall in early Sept.

Granted, the PNC Virtual Wallet benefits enormously from the 2 million monthly visitors to parent PNC.com and PNCBank.com. Yet, it's still an impressive total and is encouraging for banks and credit unions considering similar efforts.

Table 1: Online PFMs launched more than 1 year ago

  Sep 2008 Sep 2007 Gain '08 vs. '07 Multiple
Mint 530,000 200,000 330,000 2.7 x
Geezeo 72,000 11,000 61,000 6.5 x
Wesabe 89,000 33,000 56,000 2.7 x
Yodlee 97,000 50,000 47,000 1.9 x
Finicity/Mvelopes 91,000 73,000 18,000 1.2 x
Buxfer 9,000 3,500 5,500 2.5 x
PearBudget 6,300 2,100 4,200 3.0 x
ClearCheckbook 6,200 2,800 3,400 2.2 x
BudgetTracker 12,000 12,000 0 Flat
  Total 910,000 380,000 530,000 2.4x

Table 2: The online PFM class of 2008

  Sep 2008 Sep 2007 Gain
PNC Virtual Wallet 140,000 0 140,000
Rudder 50,000 2,000 (1) 48,000
Expensify 9,600 0 9,600
GreenSherpa 6,300 0 6,300
RateSurfer 4,400 0 4,400
Thrive 3,500 0 3,500
Expensr 2,900 0 2,900
Banzai 2,700 0 2,700
iThryv 2,000 0 2,000
  Total 220,000 2,000 220,000
       
Grand Total 1.2 million 380,000 750,000

 Notes:

1. Sum of the monthly unique visitors from all PFM companies, visitors that went to more than one PFM provider are not eliminated from the total, so there is double counting in the totals. Data source is Compete, pulled 21 Oct 2008.

2. Rudder was previously Spendview, but we consider them to be essentially a new company.

Comments (3)

PNC Bank Takes on Mint & Quicken with PNC Virtual Wallet

By Jim Bruene on July 14, 2008 6:53 PM | Comments (13)

image Just when you thought Mint, Wesabe, and Geezeo had a lock on all the headlines for Gen Y personal finance, along comes a truly inspired effort from a major U.S. retail bank. Furthermore, it's not from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, or even ING Direct.

Pittsburgh, PA-based PNC Bank, the 15th-largest U.S. retail bank with $83 billion in deposits (see note 1), today launched a new online combo account called PNC Virtual Wallet.

The account comes with a checking account, bill payment, and two types of savings accounts. It also features several unique personal financial management features with an emphasis on functions most likely to appeal to a 20-something audience:

  • Cash flow: debit card, checking, online bill pay, financial calendar, recent transaction report
  • Savings: two types of savings accounts, automated savings options, wish list, and a random video-game-inspired savings tool called "punch the pig" (see below)

Finally, the account is priced well:

  • No fees (except $0.50 per written check after the first 3 per month and the usual penalty fees)
  • Free overdraft protection among linked accounts
  • 3% APY on the growth savings component
  • ATM-free rebate (but only if there's a $2000 average monthly balance in the checking account portion)

What's innovative? (note 2)

  • Package of three deposit accounts: Spend Account (e.g., checking), Reserve Account (e.g., savings) and Growth Account (e.g., high-yield savings or money market deposit account)
  • Ability to move money among the three accounts by moving a slider across the screen, called the Money Bar
  • Automated savings function called Savings Engine that allows users to set up time-triggered (e.g., once per week) or event-triggered (e.g., each debit card use) automatic savings transfers
  • Savings game called Punch the Pig, a video-game-inspired savings gimmick: Each time the pig appears on screen, users can elect to "punch" it to automatically move money from checking to savings
  • Wish List with savings goals and progress reports

What can be improved?
Four areas that are noticeably absent, or at least not mentioned:

  • Mobile functionality, especially text banking and alerts
  • Online customer support: Customer can apply online through the Andera-powered app; however, there is no link to any online-support options such as chat, IM, text, or even a Web-based input form or old-school email address
  • Social aspects: forums, reviews, blogs, or even testimonials (note 4)
  • Credit: credit cards, line of credit, auto loans, and so on

The website design is impressive and very un-banklike, yet it lacks some basics:

  • No demo: There are several Flash instructional videos that show most of the key features, but there is no all-encompassing demo for users wanting a tryout before buying.
  • Lame homepage videos: Granted, I'm not in the Gen Y target market so I could be wrong, but if I think the videos are lame, what do you think a 22-year-old will make of them? I say lose the "man on the street videos" or reshoot them in a less-scripted manner. 
  • Extensive FAQs: The FAQs need to be expanded tenfold. Currently, only 16 questions and answers are up, but with so many unique features, that number doesn't come close to answering many basic questions, such as "Are there account alerts?" or "What's the rate of interest on the reserve account" (note 3), or "How long are transactions stored?"

PNC Bank virtual wallet homepage (14 July 2008)

PNC Bank Virtual Wallet home 14 July 2008

Explanation of "Punch the Pig" savings feature

PNC Bank Punch the Pig feature in VirtualWallet 14 July 2008

Notes:
1. Deposits as of 31 Dec 2007; deposits were up 25% compared to $66 billion as of year-end 2006.

2. PNC has applied for a patent on the account and tools.

3. Eventually, I did find a link to interest rates and fees on the "how to apply" page

4. See Online Banking Report on Social Personal Finance for more info

Comments (13)

Remote Deposit Sightings: Wall Street Journal & PNC Bank

By Jim Bruene on March 19, 2007 9:54 AM | Comments

It takes a long time before a new process or technology becomes "conventional wisdom," something that is accepted at face value without questioning its pros and cons. While we are still years away from that happening with remote deposit technology, at least the mainstream press has picked up on its benefits, one of the first steps towards mass adoption.

The latest example was in today's Wall Street Journal special Small Business section. In "Branching Out," a general article on banks' growing interest in small businesses, author David Enrich prefaced an Aite Group "levels the playing field" quote with this (p. R6):  

Remote deposit makes it less important to select a bank based on its location or number of branches--which many big banks tout as a key selling point.

Analysis
The key take-away here is that banks should make sure remote deposit services are prominently featured in checking/cash management offers aimed at attracting new business clients. 

Google search on remote deposit capture CLICK TO ENLARGE For example, PNC Bank is currently running a remote deposit promotion with a free scanner for customers who sign up before the end of April (see landing page screenshot below). The service is powered by Bankserv (PNC data sheet here;

The promotion is well-placed on Google, with the fourth-highest AdWords placement giving PNC the top-right slot (see inset).

However, neither the promotion or remote deposit are mentioned on the bank's main business checking account marketing page (see second screenshot below). We like the promotion, the first we've seen advertising a free scanner via Google, but the bank seems to be missing the chance to grab new accounts with the freebie.  

PNC Bank landing page from Google search on "remote deposit capture"
(Seattle IP address, 19 March 2007, 9 AM PDT)

PNC Bank landing page from Google search on "remote deposit capture"

PNC Bank main business checking page (19 March 2007)

PNC Bank main business checking page (19 March 2007)

Comments

Holiday Bank Marketing Continued

By Jim Bruene on December 24, 2006 10:29 AM | Comments

As mentioned last week (here), U.S. banks are starting to get more creative with their websites, with 12 of the 30 largest (note 1) injecting a bit of holiday spirit into their websites.

This year, three of the top-30 banks had major holiday themes running on their homepages; in 2004, none did. And today we viewed another nine with minor holiday sprinkles, making 12 in total. Two years ago, four banks had minor holiday-themed promotions.

We expected to see more banks marketing gift cards, one of the hottest holiday gifts, especially during the last few days before Christmas. Only four banks mentioned gift cards on their homepages on Dec. 24 (note 2):

  • National City
  • BB&T
  • North Fork Bank
  • Commerce Bank

Here is a rundown of those with major holiday themes:

  1. Citibank: Citi had the best overall holiday theme as  it continued pushing its 5% e-Savings Account, with a clever 5% "ornament" hung next to traditional Christmas decorations (see screenshot below).

    Citibank holiday homepage CLICK TO ENLARGE
  2. PNC Bank: Runner-up was PNC with its unique brand of holiday marketing, a tongue-in-cheek look at the cost of the items listed in the popular Christmas song, Twelve Days of Christmas. It's a holiday tradition at PNC which has been tracking the holiday index for 22 years (see screenshot below).

    PNC Bank holiday homepage CLICK TO ENLARGE
  3. Bank of America: The largest online bank used a holiday theme, and $100 off a Dell PC, to encourage users to join the other 20 million BofA customers using its online banking. Customers hitting the bank's homepage were greeted with an animated banner displaying a wrapped package, which after two seconds changed to the Dell deal (see before and after screenshots below).

    Showing before and after package animation:

    Bank of America holiday homepage before CLICK TO ENLARGE

Bank of America holiday homepage after CLICK TO ENLARGE

Other top-30 banks with holiday-oriented images on their homepages:

  • Chase Bank: snow globe with 0% credit card offer
  • Wells Fargo: packages
  • Washington Mutual: snowball with 30-second credit card application
  • Citizens Bank: packages with a debit card rewards promo
  • National City: snowflakes with gift card promo
  • BB&T: packages with a gift card promo
  • Countrywide Bank: snow and packages with a loan promo
  • North Fork Bank: Radio City promo with $15 off coupon and gift cards
  • Commerce Bank: packages with gift card promo

Notes:

  1. According to Online Banking Report's list of the 150 largest U.S. financial institutions as of 31 March 2006 (link here).
  2. Searches conducted during late morning (EST) on Dec. 24, 2006, from a southwest Florida IP address. Although gift cards were not mentioned on US Bank's homepage on Dec. 24, we had seen them advertised on previous visits, although not necessarily on ithe homepage.
Comments

Final Bank Marketing Score: Steelers 2, Seahawks 1

By Jim Bruene on February 3, 2006 5:20 PM | Comments

Pnc_steelers_homepageAs we analyzed PNC Bank's identity protection services (see previous article), we happened to notice this timely photo of its hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, scheduled to compete Sunday in the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks (click on inset for closeup). PNC is the official bank of the Steelers.

We were curious as to how many banks were leveraging Super Bowl fever in the states of Washington and Pennsylvania. Using Yahoo's directory, we found only one of 27 Washington Banks (see below), and two of 68 Pennsylvania banks with homepage references to their home teams.

Firstmutual_seahawkcdAnd only First Mutual Bank <firstmutual.com> in Bellevue, Wash., has a promotion tied to the big game: a 4.05 percent "Championship Rate" on its High-Yield Money Market Deposit Account (click on inset for closeup).

Fidelitybank_steeler_homepageThe two Pennsylvania football tie-ins were simple eye-catching graphics on the homepage from Fidelity Bank (click on inset right for closeup) and PNC Bank (see above).

--JB

Editor's Note: Since the Steelers won 21-10, we are wondering whether bank website appearance may be a leading indicator of Super Bowl performance. We'll see next year.

Comments

PNC Bank Bundles ID Theft Insurance with Checking

By Jim Bruene on February 3, 2006 4:11 PM | Comments

Pnc_idtheftlogoHow do you make your checking account stand out from the one across the street, around the corner, or two clicks away in Internet Explorer? It's not easy if you want to maintain or increase profitability.

Several banks, including Washington Mutual (NetBanker Nov. 8, 2005) and PNC Bank, use a relatively new technique that is inexpensive and plays to the current hysteria surrounding online security: identity theft insurance. Pnc_idtheftinsurance

In PNC's case, three of its core checking account options come bundled with $2500 to $5000 in insurance: Premium Plan, Choice Plan, and of course Digital Checking (click on inset right for more details). Free Checking does not include ID theft insurance.

Action Items
Before giving away identity theft insurance, look instead at creating a profit center around fraud protection services. As we discussed in a previous Online Banking Report (OBR 83/84), identity theft protection and related credit bureau-monitoring services are among the few relatively easy fee-income opportunities online.

Pnc_truecredit_cobrandIn fact, PNC Bank sells a full suite of credit bureau services housed under Identity Theft Safeguards in the Personal Finance area. The options range from a $29.95, one-time, three-bureau report to relatively pricey $120/yr and $180/yr subscription plans powered by TransUnion's TrueCredit, an OBR Best of the Web winner in 2002 (click on inset for closeup).

--JB

Comments

Where's the Holiday Bank Marketing?

By Jim Bruene on December 21, 2004 9:28 AM | Comments

These days most major online retailers and consumer sites dress up their websites for the holidays.

Unless, they are bank sites.

Each year we surf major banks looking for holiday happenings. We were surprised again this year to find little creativity on bank home pages. On Dec. 21, none of the largest 30 banks in the U.S. had a major holiday theme running.

Two banks, National City (#11) and LaSalle (#15) were running prepaid gift card banners. And two others were running small holiday-themed promotions running, AmSouth Bank (#27) and PNC (#20).

PNC is running a tongue-in-cheek look at the cost of purchasing the items in the popular holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. This year the total cost was $17,300, up 2.4% since last year. The bank has been tracking the cost for 20 years and provides a long-term look at the price increases. It's very clever, providing valuable publicity and a positive impression of the bank.

AmSouth Bank has an interesting holiday promotion, one that ties directly to online banking a bill payment. Website users can personalize a holiday greeting card and send it to anyone with an email address. Users are encouraged, but NOT required, to use the cards as a notification of a check being sent through AmSouth's bill payment system. The default "personal" message even says:

A monetary gift is being sent through AmSouth Bank, please look for it in your mail in the next 7 days.

Greeting card users do NOT have to be bank customers. AmSouth doesn't say whether it is capturing email addresses. We would have to assume not.

Action Items

Add a holiday promotion for your 2005 marketing plan. It's a great way to jazz up your website for the holidays and you can include a sales promotion at the same time, especially for prepaid cards or gift checks.

-- JB

----------------------------------------------------

If you'd like to learn more about the financial interactive marketing efforts, check out the Interactive Financial Marketing Database from our sister publication, the Online Banking Report.

Comments

Innovators in Small Business Online Delivery

By Jim Bruene on June 10, 2004 12:21 PM | Comments

Innovators in small business online delivery

 

Table 55

Watchfire/Gomez Small Business Scorecard

Rank

Name

Score
Dec ‘03

Number Sm. Biz Clients

1 (tie) Bank of America

7.6

2.5 mil1

1 (tie) National City

7.6

ina

3 (tie) Key

6.9

ina

3 (tie) Wells Fargo

6.9

1.3 mil2

5 (tie) Chase

6.8

300,0001

5 (tie) Fleet

6.8

450,0002

5 (tie) Wachovia

6.8

800,0001

8 Bank One

6.6

ina

9 (tie) HSBC America

6.0

ina

9 (tie) U.S. Bank

6.0

ina

Source: Watchfire, 6/04 <gomezpro.watchfire.com>
Other banks evaluated, but not making the top 10: Bank of New York, BB&T, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica, Fifth Third Bank (150,000 clients), LaSalle, PNC Bank (200,000 clients), SunTrust, UBOC, Washington Mutual (250,000 clients)
1American Banker, May 18, 2004, BofA total includes FleetBoston
2American Banker, Oct. 1, 2003

Our first report on small business banking was produced in the fall of 1997 (OBR 29).
At that time, few banks were specifically targeting small businesses. Then, a Yahoo search for “small business” and “banking” yielded only 19 results compared to 2.5 million today. In the late 1990s, most banks were still busy building out their consumer interfaces. Even as recently as 2001 (OBR 70/71), we found few major innovations to report on. Our favorite small business banking service was OneCore http://www.onecore.com/  which was shuttered shortly thereafter, at least as a direct provider.  

Today much has changed. Everywhere you look, banks are innovating to serve the small business market more effectively. According to Watchfire’s GomezPro unit the best small business banking sites are Bank of America and National City, tied for first place in its year-end 2003 scorecard (see Table 55, right). 

Other online innovators in the small business market:

  •          Barclays Bank (London; $800 billion) uses its website to target startup businesses with a broad array of support services that many startups would find essential, including a free business checking account for the first year. It’s so impressive, we’ve given it our second Best of the Web award this year
    (see next page).
  •          PNC Bank (Pittsburgh, PA; $70 billion) and NetBank have both announced plans to offer remote check deposits, something most U.S. banks will support within a few years. One of the last reasons to visit the branch will be eliminated when clients can feed paper checks into a scanner instantly depositing the cash into their account and storing the image into their online banking archive
    This service is a shoo-in for an OBR Best of the Web once it goes live.
  •          NetBank (Alpharetta, GA; $4.1 billion) which launched a new small business initiative a year ago, has attracted 1,600 businesses with $38 million in deposits ($24,000 average deposit). If it keeps to the announced third-quarter launch, NetBank may be the first bank to offer remote paper check scanning

 


 

Barclays provides valuable services for startups

Why do the U.K. banks do a better job serving small businesses online compared to their U.S. counterparts?1 Perhaps U.S. banks are underestimating the value of services targeted directly to small business owners. Or maybe they’ve found it too difficult because business owners won’t bother switching bank accounts to save a few bucks a month. That’s why it makes so much sense for Barclays Bank to focus on startups at its business website <business.barclays.co.uk>. After all, if you succeed in being a startup’s first bank, you have the inside track to retain its business over time.

Barclays business homepage (see below) is dominated by a shaded area asking the important question, Starting a business? Even though the vast majority of visitors already have a business and a banking relationship with Barclays, those most likely shopping for services are startups. The bank also offers Pain relief in a box, a proprietary business management and accounting program targeted for tiny businesses or startups that haven’t settled on an accounting software system.

1Two out of three of our Best of Web winners for small businesses are headquartered in the U.K.

 

Barclays’ small business Starter Accounts consist of the following features and benefits:

  •          Current account (checking) with an overdraft facility; free for the first 12 months, 18 if you also maintain personal accounts at Barclays
  •          Savings account
  •          Loans, subject to credit approval of course
  •          Insurance
  •          45-minute free consultation with a business/marketing consultant
  •          45-minute free consultation with an accountant
  •          30-minute free consultation with an attorney

 


 

NetBank and PNC to offer remote deposits

According to recent press reports, both NetBank (American Banker, May 20) with 1,600 small business clients and PNC Bank (Wall Street Journal, June 8) with 200,000, will launch remote deposit service for their business customers. Although details of the yet-to-be-launched services are sketchy, it is expected that business customers will be able to scan paper checks into a remote device that transmits images to the bank for immediate deposit. PNC estimates the scanners will rent for $15 to $25 per month. No word on pricing from NetBank. The NetBank service is expected in late third quarter and PNC expects to roll-out by yearend. Alogent http://www.alogent.com/  is the technology provider for NetBank.

Benefits for small business owners:

1.   Saves time/money: Frees business owners from the daily/weekly trek to the branch, something 80% of online self-employed households reported doing during the past 30 days according to Javelin Strategy

2.   Improves cash flow: Checks can be deposited immediately rather than collecting dust waiting for the owner’s next trip to the branch

3.   Streamlines record keeping:

i.    the original check can be filed as a paper receipt if desired

ii.   a back-up electronic image is stored at the bank if questions arrive

4.   Improves customer service: Check images can be quickly retrieved and emailed if
a dispute arises

5.   Saves storage space/cost: Paper checks can be destroyed much sooner, eliminating storage and security issues

6.   Improves management control: Owners can spot-check deposit activity by looking at actual check images, rather than staff-entered accounting entries

Speaking as both as a small business owner and an industry analyst, this is a great service and a strong candidate for a Best of the Web award once it becomes operational.

 

Comments

PNC Bank’s AutoWeb Connects Residents with Auto Dealers

By Jim Bruene on March 31, 1998 8:38 AM | Comments

PNC Bank

www.pncbank.com

PNC Bank’s new AutoWeb connects Pittsburgh residents with area auto dealers.

PNC Bank (Pittsburgh, PA; $78.8 billion; 1.6 million ATM cards) links the Pittsburgh online community with participating auto dealers at www.pncbank.com/autoweb/index1.html Users are promised a quote from up to three dealers by the end of the next business day. Naturally, users can apply online for financing with PNC.
Contact: Tom Kunz is VP Electronic Banking, (412) 762.8770).

Comments
Categories: Auto Financing, PNC Bank

Customized Online Financial Services -- Banks with User-Customizable Web Sites

By Jim Bruene on May 4, 1997 10:48 AM | Comments

Bank of America
www.bankamerica.com

Bank of America’s
Build Your Own Bank, was the industry’s first personalized Web site back in late 1995. After logging-in, users are greeted with “Welcome to the Bank of username.” I had not logged in for over a year and was greeted with 16 pages of messages and news.

Fleet Financial
www.fleet.com

Fleet’s
Personal Navigator has been around for more than a year now. Fleet is still using the same five profiling questions which cover age, family status, home ownership, financial wherewithal, and preferences in cars. No word as to what, if anything, they are doing with this data. I haven’t ever been contacted by the bank, despite having been in the database for over a year. Of course, I have an out-of-area zip code.

Deposit Guaranty
www.dgb.com


We really like Deposit Guaranty’s Express Menu. Rather than employing pesky cookies, or requiring users to memorize users IDs and passwords, the bank creates personalized menus on the fly. It only takes a few seconds to check the boxes. One improvement, in our view, would be the ability to bookmark the personalized menu for future reference. The ill-fated First Interstate site used this technique.

PNC Bank
www.pncbank.com

PNC
Bank is the latest with a customized Web page called, what else, Customized Banking. It includes both a Personal Profile and an Entrepreneur’s Profile.

 

See also: Summit Bank www.summitbank.com profiled last month.

Comments

PNC Bank Rolls Out PC Banking via MECA

By Jim Bruene on January 22, 1997 1:33 PM | Comments

PNC outlines its three options: MYM, Quicken, AOL. Under “which options is best” users are steered to MYM unless they already use Quicken.

PNC Bank (Pittsburgh, PA; $70 billion; 1.3 million ATM cards) rolled out PC banking via MECA’s Managing Your Money <www.mymnet.com> on Dec. 16. PNC, which does not have an ownership stake in MECA, beat three of MECA’s six owners to the field and tied one:

PNC’s MYM banking program is also notable for two online banking “firsts”:
1. The first to support interbank transfers. PNC has boldly taken the plunge and is simplifying the process of transferring funds out of the bank.
2. The first to follow Intuit’s lead by providing a custom Netscape Navigator browser with unlimited free access to PNC’s Web, or full Internet access, from internetMCI, at $2 off the normal $19.95/mo charge.
Direct Bank exec Judy Campbell’s 1996 performance review should look good. During the year PNC launched a Web site; online banking through Quicken, MYM, and BankNow; a small business program Business Express/PC; unveiled a strategic alliance with Industry.Net’s Online Marketplace; and dropped $4 million into Integrion. Judy Campbell is SVP/Mgr of PNC’s Direct Bank, 412.762.2000. Paul Harrison is CEO at MECA, 203.256.5089. Stephen Von Rump is VP Enterprise Marketing at MCI, 202.887.3140.

Comments
Categories: PNC Bank

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