Bancography | Branch Planning, Marketing Research, Brand Strategy, Products & Profitabilty

New Visual Trends in Retail Banking Websites

The following seven examples don’t look anything like the bank websites of yesteryear. Each site is extremely visual, combining bold photos and bright colors with dynamic content and modern design. These financial institutions have created their own, unique branded online experience, giving them a contemporary competitive retail edge.

If you like the examples showcased below, you may also want to check out the websites for Kiwibank, Goldman Sachs, Banque Heritage and Zurich. And thanks to comments from readers, also take a look at Standard Chartered, Mango and New Resource.

South Valley Bank – Stunning Scenics

Subscribe TodayThe star of this website is a huge, gorgeous scenic photo from around the rural Oregon area where the bank is based. Every time you refresh the website or visit a new page, one of 5-6 stunning images rotates in the background. Visitors’ attention is force-focused on one of three small banner ads cycling against this scenic backdrop.

Unfortunately, there’s no online banking login on the homepage. Online banking customers are routed to a much less impressive page.

Navigation is handled by a rather large number of tabs (16 in total) resting atop the photos, but the design seems to work. South Valley tucked a link to its Facebook page in the upper right corner. There are seven links with nitty gritty at the bottom of the page. Visit website.

Kiosk & Display | Digital Merchandising for Financial Institutions

Johnson Bank – Understated Upscale Elegance

Using overexposed photos and varying layers of translucency, this bank achieves a visually appetizing aesthetic appropriate to its upscale audience. Background photos change as you move within the site. Four large, horizontal banner ads deliver dynamic content on the homepage, with three blocks of newsworthy items below. Twitter and Facebook links are incorporated into the site’s footer block. Visit website.

Salem Five – Dashboard with Beautiful Local Backdrops

Site visitors can choose from one of 19 different background images, each a lush visual image celebrating a uniquely New England lifestyle. The bank eschews traditional “boxed” banner ads on the homepage for a series of four simple text ads superimposed over the backdrop. It creates an overall calming effect.

Subscribe TodayThe copy uses New England vernacular: “Wicked good rate and easy access with a Star Home Equity Line.” And with a wry, understated tone, the bank says, “Ask us about Star Checking. Please. We can’t contain ourselves.”

There is a complex dashboard with rates, contact options and an online banking login. There are links to Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Nearly every page on the site can be accessed with one click from the homepage, thanks to four primary drop-down menus each with an exhaustive list of links. Interior pages are more traditional, and skip the beautiful background images. Visit website.


Kiosk & Display | Digital Merchandising for Financial Institutions

Bankwest – Happy Banking Website

This financial institution in Western Australia has positioned itself as the home of “Happy Banking” for many years. The bank has a team of five stuffed spokescharacters, including a squirrel, sunflower, sun, teddy bear and dog. Now they’ve got a new style of website to match their quirky personality (although the white, omnipresent sidebar is a bit distracting).

One of the site’s main features — besides the giant photo — is the interactive search tool. Much like Google’s real-time search results, Bankwest’s search tool displays suggestions before you hit “enter” on your keyboard. Visit website.

ASB – Yellow

ASB differentiates its online experience with minimalist simplicity and heavy doses of the bank’s signature brand yellow. What makes this website unique is that the online banking login area — something usually relegated off in a corner somewhere — has become the design’s hero. ASB recognizes that the people who visit its website most often are online banking customers. “Hello.”

There are only 14 links in the primary yellow area on the website, including five main tabs, four banner ads and five other miscellaneous links. All the messy navigation (essentially a site map) is buried below the fold. The bank lists its Twitter and Facebook accounts on the homepage and under its contact options. Despite the bank’s conversational tone, live online chat in not publicly available. Visit website.

Getty Images | Content Marketing

Lake City Bank

This site went live in 2009. it combines cutting-edge HTML and CSS design techniques, the latest advances in 3D Flash technology and a bandwidth-saving, JavaScript-based navigation system. The site is properly formatted for different situations, including a printable version as well as a handheld version. Both alternate versions of the site work from the primary URL. Visit website.

Darden Employees FCU – Simple Blocks

Darden Employees FCU only has $11 million in assets and 1,800 members, but its website looks more sophisticated than many credit unions 50 times their size. The site’s architecture is structured into simple, colorful blocks and large, photo-driven banner ads. Product-level navigation is placed lower on the page, below the visual content. Twitter and Facebook links are tucked into the upper right corner. Visit website.


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Comments

  1. Nice article with good examples. I also like https://www.mangomoney.com and http://www.standardchartered.com which could be included in this group.

  2. Hi Kyle,

    Both excellent suggestions. Standard Bank was actually on the list of websites to include in this article, but got scratched as the last minute.

    The Financial Brand has written about Mango (and its website) a couple times:
    http://thefinancialbrand.com/13734/mango-money-stores-for-the-underbanked/
    http://thefinancialbrand.com/11702/creative-showcase-may-2010/

  3. Hi,
    I’d also suggest a look at https://www.newresourcebank.com. New Resource is a relatively new bank focused 100 percent on working for people, planet and profit. (Full disclosure: my firm does their marketing communications.) It’s a good example of the brighter, nonbank look you’re talking about. Our challenge was to give customers the reassurance that it is a highly professional bank while communicating the sustainability message.

  4. This highly visual approach has only become possible with the advent of faster connections and machines – it will be interesting to see how it develops as technology continues to accelerate.

    Certainly I’ve noticed a change in client perceptions here. The nervousness about agencies being disproportionately high tech when compared to target audiences that I used to experience feels like a thing of the past now. So even a good traditional brand like Lloyds TSB Private Banking (yes, a client of mine) has moved its website significantly in this direction: http://www.lloydstsb-pb.com/

  5. Love these sites’ new big-graphic look. Very Bing-like.

  6. Nice post. If online banking actually carried forward these designs… Still some time to go before we see something like that. It’s a good start though for these banks, the disconnected approach still bothers me.

  7. Thanks for the comment Jacob. Yes, the visual disconnect between most financial institutions’ websites and their online banking platforms is awkward.

  8. My company, MarketEdge, took a completely different approach in developing and designing the website content for First Bank http://www.firstbank.bz (based in Carmi, IL). The site is developed around the bank’s Personal (retail) & Relationship (commercial) Bankers so that customers and potential customers can easily contact a person with questions and concerns. The idea is to put a “face” on the bank to offer one-on-one service.

  9. Unlike, Ally or ING, small banks require three basic elements.

    1. Easy Login
    2. Rates (nice legible comparison table)
    3. Locate a branch section

    The rest of the content is secondary.

    The big background photo is just following an outdated trend.

    Check out: http://oldsecond.com

  10. Here is another great example for a smaller bank:

    https://www.ibankpeoples.com/wm_trust.asp

  11. I ran across this nice website with large type:

  12. Just wanted to chime on in the Darden Employees Federal Credit Union website. Redbeard Communications created the branding and the website for Darden, and it was a pleasure to work for Darden CU because they really understood and embraced their field of membership. They are the credit union for Darden, the world’s largest full-service restaurant company (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grill, Bahama Breeze, and Season 52). 1800 restaurants and 180,000 employees. The demographic of this field of membership is very young – almost all Gen X and Gen Y. To the credit union’s credit, they really “got it” – they embraced this fact, realized how important image and style and sense of belonging is to this group and understood the reality that remote banking channels were going to be the key to effectively servicing this group. Yep, they’re small – but not for long :)

  13. Thanks for sharing the story behind Darden’s website Gregg.

  14. Another nice website from T8 Webware:

  15. Nice to see that banking is concerned about design! We at Finn Digital would like to thank you for recognizing the JohnsonBank.com website, which our agency (http://finndigital.com) produced with the good people at Johnson Bank. We can give props to Jake Rohde, Art Director for the visual design, and the entire team for UX design.

    It’s more important to understand that, as duly noted in each of the responses to this post, every site is indeed different and subsequently worthy of attention. Each carries the personality and brand of a specific institution.

    Frankly, we’re blown away by the high quality of all the noted examples in this posting, not just the featured sites. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we appreciate the efforts we know you all went through to achieve the success that you have for your clients.

    A big thank you should go out to each client contact at the bank as well. If it were left to accountants, it would all look like tax forms in the end! Great work like the examples here only happens when clients communicate goals, objectives, brand and customer expectations – and work with the talents they’ve carefully hired to deliver a premium experience.

    Nice work, everyone!

  16. Thanks Bill. I really appreciate the comment.

  17. Nice post, and great designs! At Security Service FCU we tackled the redesign by identifying the most common tasks that visitors performed or wanted to perform on our site. We then used this insight, along with our brand promise, to create a design aimed at meeting our member’s needs and match our broad geographic footprint. Still a work in progress, as all sites are, but you can see the direction we’re taking in the current version.

  18. Forgot to add the link – https://www.ssfcu.org.

  19. Hey guys. Good collection of bank websites. A number of these demonstrate a distinctly untraditional approach and it certainly comes across as refreshing. That said, almost all of these falter when viewed from an end-to-end journey.

    For new-to-bank customers, these engagingly designed sites will hook their interest and perhaps lead to some kind of conversion. Great UX so far. However, it’s well known that returning customers tend to go to a bank site and click on “Login” over 90% of the time so an equal amount of attention should be placed on the design of the online banking experience. Is this the case for the sites mentioned here? I don’t think so.

    Many of the online banking solutions these banks offer are of-the-shelf solutions that offer little in the way of customisation so I can understand the cookie cutter look. Online banking solutions are often mired in legacy systems so they’re awfully outdated, but in my experience, a great UX on the public side should be maintained all the way through to online banking.

    It’s unfortunate that the area where customers spend most of their time is usually the most poorly designed. Hope we see improvements soon!

  20. There are some great examples of what to do and what not to do with banking websites here. For example, every financial institution should include easy access to online banking with a login section on the main page, like http://www.bankwithbos.com. This site incorporates the ‘new’ style of financial websites with all the elements of a what all financial sites should include: easy navigation, online banking login on home page, search, social media links and rotating banner ads. Kudos to you, Bank of Springfield (BOS).

  21. InterestedViewer says:

    http://westburybankwi.com/default.aspx
    What do you guys think of this one? It’s my bank’s website, and I like it a lot!

  22. The Westbury Bank website is right in line with the new visual direction financial institutions’ websites should be heading. It’s simple, professional and attractive. It makes the bank look bigger than it probably is.

  23. Here’s another visual website from First Utah Bank:
    https://www.firstutahbank.com/

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