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Ideal online bank


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  • 1. Online Banking Ideal vs. Customary Gavesh Malhan William Biedenbach Syed Zillur Rehman
  • 2. Table of ContentsI. Introduction......................................................................................1II. Ideal Bank Website……..................................................................2III. Evaluation Method...........................................................................8IV. Bank Analysis..................................................................................9V. Conclusion.....................................................................................39Bank Website Ratings ………………..…………………………Appendix
  • 3. I. Introduction The banking industry operates in a consistently evolving market environment. Toremain competitive, banks attempt to improve process efficiencies and transformproducts/ services to meet customers’ needs. Technological innovation has always beenat the root of these initiatives. The development of the internet and rapid advancementsin communication tools has permitted banks to establish several banking channels forconsumer customers; in particular Automated Teller Machines (ATM), banking over theinternet or online banking, and mobile banking from a phone or PDA. The focus of thisanalysis is to determine to what degree banks have utilized the internet in the personalconsumer banking sector to provide services for current and potential bank customers. The structure of the analysis compares a project team defined theoretically idealbanking website against already established functioning banking sites. Thirty banks withan internet presence have been selected for comparison. Each bank will be awarded anumerical score based on how well it matches the theoretical site. Subsequently, thebanks will be ranked from most to least ideal. Additionally, a qualitative synopsis isprovided discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each website reviewed. Keyfindings and an assessment of the studies results conclude the project.II. Ideal Bank Website The ideal banking website as defined by the project team contains five criticalelements; (1) Security, (2) Convenience/Usability, (3) Online Functionality, (4) AccountServices, and (5) Availability of Information. Each element selected is considered to be adetermining factor for current and potential banking customers, and influential in theirdecision to stay with or become a member of the bank. Critical elements are further 1
  • 4. broken down into measurable attributes that can be scored either present or absent. Thecollective presence of all the attributes on an individual banking website is considered bythe project team to be ideal. The following section defines the characteristics of eachindividual element’s attributes.1. Security • Website Security link on main page: Clearly marked hyperlink to website’s security information on the sites home page. • Extra security prompt: The use of additional security measures to prevent identity theft, (security icons, email conformations, access questions). • Public Access: Different security treatment of public computers used to assess the banking site. • Encryption: Site requires data encryption (128 bit or better). • Session Timeout: Site automatically logs out inactive banking session. • Online Fraud Policy: Clearly defined banking fraud policy. • Transfer/Bill Payment Policy: Bank’s online banking policy is clearly defined and trouble resolution guidelines are provided. • Online Claims: Ability to open and file trouble tickets / disputes online. • Login cookie: User option to display user id on return from home PC. • Date/Time of last login: Site provides previous account login information. • Alerts & Reminders: The bank proactively alerts individual customers of security issues or possible account threats. • Password policy: The bank sets password requirements that prevent easily hacked user ID/Passwords. 2
  • 5. • General Security Warnings: The bank sends out security warnings to customers alerting customers to potential security threats (phishers or examples of spoof emails). • ID/Password Retrieval Online: Users are available to find or reset login information via the internet.2. Convenience / Ease of Use • View Account Balance: Ability to quickly and easily view up to date account balance. • Pending Transaction: View current balance that takes into consideration any bill payments/transfers that have been set up for a future date. • ATM/Branch Link: Main page has links to ATM/branch. • Instant ATM search: Least number of mouse clicks to retrieve ATM/branch information. • ATM Location’s Map: Display all nearest locations on a map. • Directions to ATM: Driving directions link readily available. • ATM/Branch Detail: Location information with details such as address, telephone number, and hours of operation. • Services at ATM/Branch: List different types of services next to the branch. • Online application: Apply for different types of accounts online. • Instructions for online application: Clear instructions with pre-requisites and approximate time needed to apply online. • Internal Account Aggregation: Link and view different types of internal accounts such as credit card, saving, brokerage, checking account on a same screen. 3
  • 6. • External Account Aggregation: Link and view different accounts at other banks on a single page. • Search field: Ability to search different topics from the main page. • Site Map link: Availability of site map for easy navigation. • Effective Website Design: Good layout and easy to browse with content in clear and non-cluttered format. • Minimum advertisement: Fewer product promotions and no pop-ups.3. Account Services • Online customer service: 24/7 customer service that allows users to resolve matters online. • Service specific contact information: Availability of service specific contact information such as telephone & fax numbers, addresses, etc. • Online chat: Ability to chat with a live person in answering questions or resolving issues. • Email: Ability to send, receive, and read messages via email. • Online bill payment: Make payments to virtually anyone in the country at anytime. • Prior payments: View prior payments that have been processed and posted to your account using bill payment or transfer features. • Recurring and future payments: Ability to set up recurring payments for ongoing bills (like cable), so you don’t have to remember each time they are due and set up payments that are due in the future. 4
  • 7. • Money transfer – internal accounts: Transfer money between different accounts within a bank. (For example, from checking to savings and vice versa).• Money transfer – external accounts: Transfer money to accounts that are in other domestic financial institutions.• Money transfer – international accounts: Send money to international bank accounts.• Transfer funds to non-personal accounts: Transfer/wire money to the accounts of other people.• Budgeting/spending summary: View transactions/expenditures by payee or categories (such as travel, utilities, loans, groceries, etc.) to see how and where you spent your money and be able to use it as a budgeting tool.• Integration with financial software: Integration with QuickBooks, Quicken, Microsoft Money or other similar software to download and view account activity.• Overdraft protection: Manage overdraft protection online to protect against unexpected overdrafts or embarrassment of bounced checks.• Stop/cancel payment: Ability to stop payment on checks that have been issued.• Image of cleared checks: View images of cancelled/cleared checks online – front and back.• Online check ordering: Order checks online with the same check design/style or different, if such option is available.• Automatic check ordering: Automatic re-orders of checks when the customer is down to writing the last few checks.• Apply for loans online: Apply for loans online in a fast, secure and easy manner. 5
  • 8. • Online statements: View, print, and save statements online. • Banking alerts: Receive timely alerts that are sent right to email or wireless device. • Customizable alerts: Ability to customize alerts based on personal preference. • Mobile banking: 24/7 access to banking on mobile phone to check account balance, view account history, transfer money, and perform other functions. • Transaction history availability: View history of transactions on your account. Ability to view history for more than a year. • Receive eBills: Receive online version of paper bills directly to bill payment section of bank account. • Online banking rewards: Receive rewards for online banking.4. Online Functionality • Personal Customization – Users can customize the look and feel of their online account (view/layout, news, and fingertip information). • Use of Multimedia – The site strikes a good balance between text/graphics/photos/etc. providing the user with a pleasant online experience. • Video Demo – The site uses video technology to provide users with instructional demonstrations, elaborating on products and service features.5. Availability of Information • Products’ Description: Information on various products is sufficient and easy to understand. 6
  • 9. • Additional Resources: Links to banking related resources. For instance, articles, tools like calculators to find out loan installment, college saving, retirement planning.• Fees Structure: Banking fees information such as bounced check charges, overdraft charges, ATM usage charges, and money transfer fees.• External Resources: Links to external resources including tax related matters, brokerage, and insurance products. 7
  • 10. III. Evaluation method The attributes described in the Ideal Bank Website section define a template forthe optimal banking website. By comparing this ideal banking template to already inplace banking websites the project team is able to evaluate and rank the thirty selectedbanking websites. A binary scoring system was used to create a report card for theindividual banks. Banks were given a score of either “1” or “0” (see Appendix forresults) for each attribute prescribed by the ideal banking website template. A score of“1” was given to sites that offered the attribute and “0” when not available or in caseswhere a determination could not be made. An overall score was then determined for eachbank by summing the attribute scores. The project team then ranked the individual bankwebsites by overall score. The bank with the highest score received the highest ranking.Additionally, banks were qualitatively evaluated on their strengths and weaknesses fromthe perspective of current and potential customers. The qualitative reviews are detailed inthe Bank Analysis sections of the report. Lastly, the project team recorded the time spentresearching and evaluating each banking site. The analysis for each bank site isdiscussed in detail in the next section, report card data for each bank is located theAppendix. 8
  • 11. IV. Bank Analysis1. Bank of America - Webpage design, style and appearance are all of excellent quality on the Bank ofAmerica’s website. The use of red, white and blue colors and small unassuming graphicsand text contribute to a well laid out homepage coupled with clearly defined bankingsearch tools, distinctly defined modules focusing users to bank services available, whileimpressing a strong sense of security, ease, and free usage. Extensive online help andinteractive demos are clearly marked. Current customers are able to immediately log on to their accounts; view allaccounts on one page, and transact the full range of banking services available.Customers can easily scan the page to identify branch & ATM locations, resetpasswords/login ID, and get support with privacy/security concerns. Video tutorials walkcustomers through a step by step instructional program to acquaint users with the variousonline banking features. Navigation tools permit users to skip through the topics quicklyminimizing the time spent on unnecessary topics and return to their banking needs. Potential customers can easily survey the site and identify products and servicesavailable. “Open account” hyperlinks on the main page connects the user to a pagecharting the full suite of banking products offered with detailed side by side comparisondescriptions laying out the features and requirement of banking product. Bank ofAmerica offers users the ability to have an instant message discussion with customerservice at any point to answer questions or concerns about new accounts or onlinebanking services. This site is extremely user friendly and online feature rich.Total Score: 60 Time Spent: 60 min 9
  • 12. 2. Chase - Simplistic in design, the Chase bank homepage is easy to navigate and clearlydelineated by product offerings, website news, and online banking capabilities. Graphicsare used to place an emphasis on the websites security or to display a sense of technicalsophistication. Banking information is easy to find and detailed banking productdescriptions are only one click away. Chase bank provides current and potential users with several tools to help ensurea positive banking experience. Online banking demonstrations are clear, to the point, andpresented in an interactive fashion. The user can skip unnecessary topics and explorefunctionality at their own pace. Guidance tools help customers select the products thatbest meets their needs or explore banking features previously unused. Customers are ableto customize several aspects of their day to day banking via tools online; ATMQuickChoice allows users to set default bank machine preferences (fast cash withdrawalamount, receipt printing options, language), or Personalized Alerts (automatedmobile/email alerts containing security warning and daily account notifications). Customer service contact information is easily available on the website from anypage. Customers can contact a bank representative via e-mail, telephone, or find branchlocations for in person trouble resolution. The site however, is strategically designed toprovide current and potential customers with all the information necessary to resolvepredictable concerns online without the need for intervention from a customer servicerepresentative. Chase bank has developed a feature rich full service online banking site using asimple web design and abundant online support tools.Total Score: 60 Time Spent: 60 min 10
  • 13. 3. Wells Fargo Bank - The bank offers a superb online banking site and is rated among other topperformers such as Bank of America, Citibank, etc. Fraud prevention and online securityalong with account services are highlighted on the website’s main page right beneath thelogin window. Other resourceful information and various products and services thatWells Fargo has to offer are displayed with some advertisements to make the site lookcolorful and attractive to the users. The site offers the text and other information to bedisplayed in Spanish with just one click on the top right corner. If someone is looking toapply for online banking and wants to save the information in order to finish up theapplication at a later date, the site allows you to do so. Once logged in to the account, the customer can view all the accounts (includingloans, brokerage, etc.) on the “Account Summary” page. From there, the user can viewthe account activity, spending report (that summarizes the spending from checkingaccount, check card, credit card and bill pay service into an easy-to-use report whereby,you can see how and where you spend your money) and perform several other functions.The site also allows the user to set up and receive electronic bills similar to whatWachovia has to offer. Customers can search for other products and services whilelogged in to their account as well. In addition, users have the ability to order foreigncurrency, travelers’ cheques, gift cards, etc. Visitors seeking to perform online banking can browse through the site thatcontains all the essential information they need as there are online tours available to assistthem in learning about online banking, spending report feature, etc. The website seemsto be effectively designed for a prospective user to explore.Total Score: 59 Time Spent: 45 min 11
  • 14. 4. Citibank - The wealth of features that Citibank’s site offers is just exceptional. With anexcellent balance of text, graphics, bank advertisements and pictures, it allows a user tofind the information with very few clicks compared to its peers. Citibank website allowsyou to bank from your computer or mobile device without having to visit or call thebranch for most day to day transactions. The availability of 24/7 customer service viaemail or chat allows you to get answers to your questions or resolve matters withoutmuch inconvenience. The site offers links to various financial tools and resources withinthe site and outside, allowing users to get the information they are seeking without goingthrough the typical search engines. Current users can perform a variety of additional tasks in addition to the standardonline banking functions such as applying for loans, credit cards, etc., linking andtransferring funds between external accounts (domestic and international) of their ownand others in their households, enjoying protection against unauthorized transactions intheir account, etc. One of the features that hardly any other bank site offered is rewardsfor online banking from Citibank. With the amount of features that the site offers, onecan perform a search to see if a feature is available or look it up on the website’s site mapthat, in our opinion, is very well laid out. With all the above mentioned banking features along with unparalleled securitysection, any potential customer looking to open an account at Citibank would definitelybe appreciative of the site’s functionality. There is a lot of useful and in-depthinformation available to users to explore on the site. When a user accesses the Citibank’smain page, heshe is exposed to a variety of information in such a fashion that itencompasses all aspects of online banking without leaving the user to be lost.Total Score: 59 Time Spent: 60 min 12
  • 15. 5. Wachovia Bank - Wachovia’s website very carefully laid out with the login, security information,and bank locations lookup on the far left, various products and services in the middle andsearch and online functionality for business groups on the far right of the bank’shomepage. The text, colors and graphics are well balanced making the site pleasing toview. In addition to the online banking demo, a section on “Learn more” about the onlinebanking is available for users to gain an understanding of this fast growing area ofbanking. The vast resources available on Wachovia’s website are truly noteworthy –from online banking services to retirement, brokerage, insurance, investing products andservices to various tools, newsletters, articles, etc. for each of these products. Once a customer signs in to his account, heshe can view all the accounts on “MyAccounts” page from where different features for each of the accounts can be accessed.One of the strengths that no other bank offered was the ability to view and consolidate allyour online accounts – whether it is bank accounts, portfolios, loans, and even yourfrequent flyer rewards, emails for both your Wachovia and non-Wachovia onlineaccounts. In addition, current users can set up to receive e-bills directly to your Bill Payscreen from where you make the payments. Not only that, they can also set up remindersto help track when their bills are due including the e-bills that you have set up to receiveonline. One of the drawbacks of the site is the inability to customize “My Accounts”page view. Prospective users can review overall account features, apply online, or contactcustomer service right from the main page. Mobile banking is a newly added feature thatseems to attract new customers.Total Score: 55 Time Spent: 45 min 13
  • 16. 6. Washington Mutual Bank - With one fourth of the site’s page covered with advertisements and remainder ofthe site with simple, yet discrete layout, this site appears to be well groomed. On the topright corner of the site, one can find three font sizes that allow users to switch from asmall or medium or large text size. The website design is very user friendly and notcluttered with too much information on the homepage unlike some of the other largebanking sites. The site offers online banking guarantee as some of the other large banksdo, whereby a user is covered for fraudulent and unauthorized transactions. The site alsoprovides “Bank-tionary” for users trying to find information or meanings for bankingwords. In addition to viewing and accessing the bank accounts, loans, etc, current usersenjoy the feature of viewing more than a year’s transaction history and 7 years ofstatements, which is far more than what most of the other online banks usually offer.Customers who initiate their payments four business days before the due date using theonline bill payment are backed by the “On Time Guarantee” feature that covers them forany delay in payments being made beyond the due date. If a potential user is seeking to navigate the features, the site has an online tutorialthat goes through each of the features along with the respective screens as well as a demowhere a person presents the features the site has to offer and how to sign up from theconvenience of your home. The website is very effective for those seeking to exploretheir options with online banking along with some great features a site has to offer.Total Score: 55 Time Spent: 40 min 14
  • 17. 7. PNC Bank - Website design is bright and attractive; the banks colors orange and blue areintegrated well into the site and emphasize the PNC brand. Pictures are usedappropriately to commutate an effective message at a glance; supporting text is includedto remove any possible ambiguity of its meaning. PNC Bank banner ads are displayed atthe top of the page and scroll continuously although slightly annoying not completelydistractive. Bank service and products are grouped logically, text descriptions are tightlygrouped but subtlety delineated with dotted underling for easy readability. Site searchfeatures, customer service/contact information, and interactive demonstration tools are alleasily identifiable. Finding “Getting started” account setup links are obvious and easy tofollow. Additionally, PNC Bank offers Spanish speaking customer’s information inSpanish. Current and potential customers may have some difficulty finding loan and rateinformation. Isolating mortgage and home equity rates required several drill downclicks. However, customer service is always available and most in depth web pages list a24/7 customer representative contact number. Shopping for bank products is madesimple with PNC bank’s comparison tools. This service allows the user to select theproducts he/she has the most interest in, the website then builds a comparison table of theproducts allowing the user to easily identify the pos and cons of each offering. Onlinebanking is Quicken compatible making tracking, budgeting, tax data, and investmentplanning much simpler. PNC Bank’s Quick switch feature removes the difficultiesassociated with changing banks. New customers are able to easily redirect deposits, update automatic payments,and closing undesired accounts effortlessly.Total Score: 53 Time Spent: 30 min 15
  • 18. 8. HSBC Bank USA - HSBC online bank is very well organized and has an excellent overall layout,which makes it easy for customers to find information. Prospective customers can findout more detail about a service or product by reading related information or they canwatch a demo. Products such as checking or saving accounts are described in a quickoverview format with fees and features illustrated based on different classifications. Inorder to logon to the website, customers have to use a security key along withthe password that provides extra layer of security. In addition, register feature givescustomers online versions of checkbook that helps to categorize transactionentries and reconcile balances. Also, with “Easy View” customers can view their HSBCand non-HSBC accounts such as yahoo mail, headline news, track travel rewards on asingle page with just one password. Current and potential customers can also find information on non-bankingproducts such as insurance, tax-related services, investments, and international services.For instance, they can obtain auto-insurance quotes directly from HSBC website. HSBCcan further enhance its customer services by offering online chat. Becauseof their global presence, they should offer more integration with international servicessuch as currency exchange and wire transfer.Total Score: 49 Time Spent: 60 min 16
  • 19. 9. KeyBank - KeyBank website has a well structured layout with white background that makesfont standout more. Although, it is content heavy but the entire format makesinformation easy to find. Availability of frequently accessed modules such as onlinebanking, apply now, and locations on the main page saves time by eliminating severalmouse clicks and provide quick navigation. Online videos and guided tours provideinformation about bank’s different products especially their home buyer video and homeequity video are great instructional resources. For current customers, KeyBank has many unique and useful features. Forexample, customers can do domestic and international wire transfer from their account.In addition, customers can connect to partner websites to order Traveler’s cheques, giftcheques, and foreign currency. They can quickly setup bill payment, sort transactionsbased on categories, generate graphs and reports from their account. Furthermore, theyhave several online tools like calculators specific to stock related transactions. They alsoprovide links to non-banking related websites such as Equifax where customers can findout their credit score. Customers can also set default main page according to their usergroup. Prospective customers can find essential information on closing their existingaccounts at other banks and transferring them over to KeyBank. They can also findcontact information for product related queries.Total Score: 48 Time Spent: 60 min 17
  • 20. 10. Sovereign Bank - Sovereign online bank has performed evenly across all five categories.Advertisements take a considerable portion of the main page and that should be adjustedto increase font size. Browsing and navigating to different areas of the website is reallyconvenient. The right side panel on each page enables users to learn more about a subjectby accessing related resources, access accounts, next steps, and customer service queries.Instructions are easy to understand and highlights what is needed before enrolling for aparticular service. They have considerable number of links to external resources and thatmakes them one of the best in the availability of information sector. In order to take it tothe next level, they should give insurance quotes directly from their website. Current customers can benefit from self-service resources by submitting variousonline forms such as requesting copy of cancelled check, statements, and 1099 requests.Nevertheless, in order to change mailing address they would need to download a formand mail it. Before logging on, users are prompted to verify pre-selected images inaddition to regular password, thus making banking experience more secure. Users canalso change their login preference based on what they would like to see first. Also,different icons based on payment methods provide an easy way to understandtransactions.Total Score: 47 Time Spent: 50 min 18
  • 21. 11. Commerce Bank - Simple, yet offering a rich functionality, Commerce Bank’s website seems toattract individual customers with its good mix of multimedia. The site offers traditionalonline banking characteristics supplemented with other products such as loans,investments, insurance, etc. Mixture of blue, red and white is used in a very creative waymaking the website very informational and appealing, yet not too overcrowded. Thebank’s stock price along with major indexes’ prices appears on the “Stock Watch”section on the bottom of the site. Finding a bank location & ATM and answers to somefrequently asked questions are available right on the site’s homepage. Once logged in to your account, the user is able to view the account balance alongwith various functions he/she can use such as setting up and managing transfers, bill pay,alerts and other services. The service center contains 3 main categories to the existinguser – inquiries & service requests, message center and adding additional products andservices which appears to be user friendly. One of the downsides of the website is that itgoes through maintenance each night (sometime around midnight) which is veryinopportune for any user looking to login to their account at late night to perform anytransaction or simply view their account balance. Any prospective customer looking to explore the features that the site offers cando so from the personal banking webpage link where online banking demo, informationon other accounts such as money market, CDs, IRAs, etc. is available in addition to otherproducts and services. If you are looking for a website that contains standard and someadditional features (without the complexity of finding them), Commerce bank’s onlinebanking is a good fit.Total Score: 47 Time Spent: 45 min 19
  • 22. 12. Fifth Third Bank - The website uses a blend of green, blue and black colors to display the text whichmakes the website attractive but large bank advertisements for gift cards, home equitylines and such are a bit distraction. The site permits the user to log in or explore the siteright from the homepage where an array of other products and services are exhibitedalong with information on security, bank locations, site map, etc. One of the features thatthe site offers is the planning center where abundant information on college planning,retirement, buying home, changing jobs, etc. can be found. The current customer can login directly from the site’s homepage and access theaccount summary page that provides a snapshot of their financial position – checking,savings, credit card, mortgage, brokerage and other accounts held at the Fifth ThirdBank. The user can manage and perform checking and savings account transactions inaddition to viewing information about credit card, equity lines, etc. and even accessing itusing Quicken or Microsoft Money. The multiple payments option allows customers topay one or several payees in addition to viewing prior payments made to them. Prospective users can view the interactive video and internet banking demos toget familiarized with the online banking. Once a user has obtained their ATM card andPIN number, accessing the online banking is just a few clicks away as there are no formsto fill out and there is no waiting period to gain access.Total Score: 46 Time Spent: 50 min 20
  • 23. 13. - Huntington online bank has a fresh look with a clear format. It has a good overalllayout and nice color schemes. Prospective customer can quickly and easily findinformation about different products and compare them with each other. Customerservice is available in the form of email, FAQ’s, and service specific phone numbers.Also, tools such as financial and business calculator can be helpful when planning forretirement, college saving, or purchasing a house. Huntington’s current customers take advantage of online banking by monitoringtheir spending in categorized format. Reports can be generated based on budget, taxbased transactions, and cash flow. When the customer has a question about a transaction,heshe can directly send a message to customer service. All send and receive messagesare displayed on one page. It integrates well with financial software such as MicrosoftMoney and Quicken. Huntington should minimize product promotion on the main page. Instead,that space should be utilized to emphasize product categories. Menus on top sectionshould be formulated so that they become obvious and easy to find. Online chat can helpenhance customer service by instantly resolving any problems. Additionally, receivingbills directly on the website will be convenient for customers.Total Score: 44 Time Spent: 45 min 21
  • 24. 14. First National Bank Omaha - The website appears to be very similar in design and format to that of the FifthThird Bank. The advertisements seem to be brighter than they need to be but smallercompared to those on the Fifth Third Bank. The user has the ability to access variousonline services, look up product information and browse through the useful tools,resources and services right from the online banking login page. The login for this site is a bit distinct from most of the other online bankingwebsites. The current user is prompted for entering their user name at the login screenafter which he/she is taken to the page where a personal message (that has been initiallycreated by the user) is shown to the user to verify before entering their password foraccount access. This serves as an extra layer of security when logging in to the account.Once logged in, similar to many other sites, this website displays the last 4 digits of thecustomer’s account numbers’ only for security purposes. Other than viewing accountsand bill payment services, the site offers other account services and financial tools suchas calculators, financial guides, newsletters, etc. from the account summary screen. Any user looking to get a feel of the website can attain that from the web demoavailable right from the homepage without having to browse through the website. Thedemo provides descriptions and screen shots that give users an insight at what the FirstNational Bank Omaha has to offer for online banking. In addition, the demo has twoviewing formats – one, where potential users go through each section in an order withouthaving to click on anything and the other, where they can set the pace for review of thesections giving more control. The site itself is conveniently displayed and appears to becomprehensible.Total Score: 44 Time Spent: 45 min 22
  • 25. 15. Affinity Federal Credit Union - The website design is very effective, information is easy to locate and availablevia several methods from the main webpage. The site uses several colors to demark thefunctional sections of the page. Text is readable although a bit cluttered, however reversecontrast text is used well to alleviate some of the visual noise. Graphics and art aresupportive and helpful in communicating the desired message to user. The main pageallows current customers to directly login in to their accounts, search the site, locateATM/branch locations, see bank rate information at a glance, use financial calculators,get financial planning advice, or get customer service. Current and potential customers can easily use the web site to get information onall the banking products Affinity offers, including retirement investment and insuranceproducts. A strong emphasis is placed on customer service; contact information is clearlylisted, online chat with customer representatives is available, as well as interactive onlinebanking demonstrations. Affinity does not offer a few advanced online banking toolssuch as; email alerts, mobile banking access, or aggregate banking account information. Current customers can address all their banking and financial needs via theAffinity website. Customers can utilize online banking to transfer money betweenaccounts, pay bills, apply for loans, use financial tools, and even deposit funds up to$1,500 online. Potential customers are able to quickly determine the services Affinity has tooffer, get product specific detailed information, apply for accounts or loans online, andreceive any customer support needed. The structure and functionality of the Affinity website supports a positive banking atmosphere for potential and current customers.Total Score: 44 Time Spent: 30 min 23
  • 26. 16. US Bank - Security and Services are two areas where US Bank demonstrates edge over otherbanks. While browsing the site, customers would come across several security links thatgive feeling of assurance and confidence. Drop down menus are neatly organized onboth sides of the page making it easier for customers to reach their target. The entirewebsite is not centrally aligned, therefore leaving empty space on the right side. It isdifficult to read contents especially top and bottom menus as font size is too small.Interactive slide presentations give customers feeling as if they are present at an actualbank. By looking at screenshots of sample activities, prospective customers can get firsthand experience of online banking. Their product specific 24/7 customer service ensuresthat someone will always be there to assist and answer any questions. Because of theirlimited physical presence, they should extend their ATM search to bring any bank that isclosest to the location. One of the great features US Bank’s customers enjoy is that they can view alltheir accounts i.e. credit account, deposit account, investment account on a single page.With cash advance function, customers can take out money from their credit account orfrom other direct deposit accounts and move them into their checking account. Also,they can apply for new loans or credit line increase directly from their account. Inaddition, customers can easily see details on checks by switching to different formatssuch as reverse black and white or zoom and they can also print and save. Other onlinebanking features such as e-bill, transfer, integration with financial software are also attheir disposal.Total Score: 41 Time Spent: 50 min 24
  • 27. 17. Ameriprise - The Ameriprise banking website is attractive and arranged well; the page is easyto read, functional areas are separated effectively, account features are thoroughlydescribed, and support is readily available. The primary colors used are blue and orange;they complement each other nicely and make the site appear crisp and clear. Backgroundshading is used to setup contrast for different functional areas and to offset text in largetables for improved readability. Some art and graphics are used on the site however;pictures are generally cosmetic and used to add a sense of financial stability to the bank.Rollover tabs open dropdown sub-menus on the page permitting the user to see additionalinformation without having to drill down further into the site, a convenient tool for newor potential users who are not familiar with the Ameriprise website. Customer servicelinks and contact numbers are displayed predominately on the page. Current and potential customers can review overall account features at a glance,apply online, or contact customer service as necessary. The website gives each bankproduct classification its own dedicated page on the site. All the individual productofferings within the classification are described and compared feature by feature so a usercan determine which product suites their needs best. Online demonstration tools exist sopotential customers are able to get an understanding for the look and feel of theAmeriprise user interface. Users still requiring assistance may contact customer servicevia email, telephone, or meet a representative local branch office. Although, the Ameriprise website is very effective at communicating reliabilityand ease of use; the online banking tools are slightly limited (for example, no mobilebanking) due to the fact that their primary business centers around financial services.Total score: 40 Time Spent: 45 min 25
  • 28. 18. E*Trade - E*Trade has evenly distributed content with some strong security features. It hasdull color schemes and non-uniform layout; particularly some of the useful menus arelisted at the bottom of the page, which is contrary to normal convention. It has performedaverage in availability of information and convenience categories. It warrantsimprovement in online functionality and service areas. For prospective customers, the comparison on current yields shown on the mainpage is not meaningful as it does not display competitor’s information. Also, the websitelacks interactive demos/tutorials that can help in explaining different products to newcustomers. They should improve their ATM search engine so that it not only bringsE*Trade branches, but also any bank that is close to the location. For current customers, it shows all service related information on a single page.One of the useful features is the ability to track all service requests, ask questions, locatetutorials, and other similar functions directly from a portal. Furthermore, they can seeimages of their checks as well as deposits from their accounts. They can also use theirbrokerage account to perform online banking, thereby giving more financial control tomake the most out of cash between investments. In addition, E*Trade Digital SecurityID provides a unique and enhanced security measures to online banking. E-tradecustomers receive a digital card that displays a new PIN every 60 seconds. Furthermore,their quick and easy money transfer service to and from any financial institutions is reallyconvenient.Total Score: 38 Time Spent: 40 min 26
  • 29. 19. EverBank - Webpage design is tabular and well delineated; earth tone colors are used to offsetfunctional areas on the page distinguishing the sections of content. Banking rates arepredominately displayed on virtually every webpage of the EverBank website. Text issmall and difficult to read and generally offset against a white background. Rolloverdropdown tabs reveal subsection link topics allowing users to easily identify and drilldown to the desired information. Products and customer service links are easilyidentified however; the resulting information is difficult to see at a glance and requiresthe user to read through cluttered text containing several sub notes to find the informationthey require. On site help is limited to pdf instruction documents and pop-up answers tocanned questions, some of which require the user to scroll down through several screensof plain text to get an answer. Customer service is available either via telephone orwebsite form email. Current customers can log in directly from the EverBank website home page toaccess their account information and conduct online banking transactions and find ATMlocations. Financial tools and calculators help customers evaluate several loan scenariosand determine foreign currency exchanges. Unfortunately, prospective customers are given limited to zero visibility into thelook and feel of the EverBank online banking experience. Users can not reviewdemonstrations of the online banking interface and it is difficult to understand what exactservices are available. For example; EverBank offers aggregate account information fornon-EverBank accounts, yet a potential customer looking for this service may rule outEverBank as a provider because it is not an obvious feature. The EverBank websitewhile functional is not optimally user friendly.Total Score: 36 Time Spent: 45 min 27
  • 30. 20. First Internet Bank of Indiana - First Internet Bank of Indiana has performed well in service category because oftheir wide range of online services to current customers. They can redeem CDs, disputefees/ATM transactions, stop/cancel/reorder checks, close account, request increase incredit limit, add joint account holder directly from their account. Current and potential customers can find out if bank’s maintenance schedule issuitable to their access hours. They can use the search function to lookup anyinformation or click on contact us to chat with customer service specialists. However, thewebsite design makes it difficult to navigate and find desired information. For instance,menus on the left panel should also be available on top section and they should alsodisplay sub-categories. The font size makes it harder to read available information.Because of these factors, the website received fewer points in convenience category. Prospective customers can learn more about bank’s services by viewing aninteractive demo. Nevertheless, they can not search ATMs or branch locations on thesite. In contrast, current customers can lookup ATM locations to make a deposit and theycan print deposit slips as well. Considering its exclusive online presence, it should offer customer service 24/7.On security front, they need to re-evaluate some of their processes to ensure current andpotential customers are confident with their online banking experience.Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 40 min 28
  • 31. 21. Sun National Bank - Sun National Bank is a small regional bank offering basic online banking withmediocre functionality. Even though the site offers branch locations and other resourcesright from the login homepage, the text size displayed is smaller compared to otherwebsites and as a result, it renders the site a bit less tasteful to explore. In addition, theadvertisements cover nearly half of the website which leaves very little room for essentialinformation for any user to view. Moreover, there is no online banking demo available toany new users to become acquainted with the online banking features the bank has tooffer. One of the strengths that this regional bank site offers is availability of intradaytransactions that affect a customer’s available account balance. Such transactions appearin the account’s history screen identified by “Memo” appearing in the date field that havebeen authorized or submitted but not yet posted to the account. Most of the other smallbanks generally do not display such information until it has been finalized and posted tothe individual’s account. The site offers “Switch Kit Planner” – a pdf template that can be printed and usedto keep a new user organized when switching to Sun National Bank’s online banking.Moreover, the absence of online banking demo and an ordinary lay out of the site deprivethe prospective user from scanning through the site and looking at the features that thebank may have to offer. In general, the site needs to be a bit more creative, attractive and informationalwith appropriate links to resources and tools for prospective customers.Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 30 min 29
  • 32. 22. Cape Savings Bank - Another small community bank that offers basic online banking features is CapeSavings Bank. The website’s layout is simple and straightforward as expected. The useof minimal bank advertisements allows any current or prospective user to browse throughthe website without much hassle. However, plain and simple text with some font styles isall what one can see on the site, creating a poor balance between graphics and text usage.Being a small bank, specific contact information is available to contact bank personnelbut if someone is looking for driving directions or maps to the bank, he/she might want touse sites such as Mapquest, Google maps, etc. When a current customer logs in, he/she is brought to the account summary pageby default, but such view can be changed by switching to a different layout such asreports, bill payment, etc. In addition, another feature that the site offers is enhancedsecurity to current computer or all computers, which we believe was one of the mainfeatures this site had to offer beside basic online banking. Although, email alerts are theonly medium available at this time, the site does expect to have the mobile alerts andbanking available sometime in the future. Online bill payment seems to be the only demo that is available on the bank’s siteas the online banking demo is not functional. This limits a potential user to navigatethrough the features the bank might have to offer. Any potential user who is looking fora website that provides an array of features is likely to choose some other bank than CapeSavings due to its poor multimedia and limited information availability (website itselfdoes not display information to be readily accessible due to poor webpage design).Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 40 min 30
  • 33. 23. Schwab Bank - Site design is tabular in structure, delineated into functional areas. Little color isused and no graphics or advertisements are present on the page. The home page is simpleand basically a direct portal into a current customer’s bank account. As a result the pageis dominated by the “Account Login” field with a small “New Account” application linkunderneath. Some page space is used to list new features and a simple description of thevarious Schwab products. A “More” information hyperlinks can be followed if a userrequires more in-depth product level detail. Current customers have access to online bill pay services and home financingproducts and tools. An account and mortgage interest rate table is available however it isdifficult to read due to font size and poor design layout. The bank does not offeradvanced online banking service such as account activity email alerts, mobile banking,budgeting tools/spending reports, or banking rewards. Current and potential customershave little online customer service options; help is limited to frequently asked questionsand assistance from customer service representatives via the telephone. New customers will not generally be attracted to Schwab bank based on thebank’s online banking services or web design. Schwab’s online banking functions arenot as robust as others within the industry and customer service is almost nonexistent.Banking services appear to be a complement to Schwab’s investor services and notintended to serve as a full feature consumer bank with web enabled customer service andadvance banking tools. Several links within the website link users to the Charles SchwabBrokerage website.Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 30 min. 31
  • 34. 24. Boardwalk Bank - The website’s layout is very simple and straightforward. The use of blue andblack text on a white background makes the website somewhat dull compared to otheronline banking sites. Since Boardwalk bank is a small community bank serving thesouthern New Jersey area, the features available on the site are limited to a few basicones such as online bill pay, transfers, viewing history and so forth. For a current user, the site allows them to log in and perform online banking fromone screen that lists the various accounts held at this bank. If one had to look up thebranch and ATM locations, they are limited to address, telephone numbers and operationhours information only – no maps, driving directions are available. In addition, the sitedoes not allow to set-up future transfers. One can view all their accounts held at thisbank on the account access page but to apply for such accounts, it must be done via mailor in person such as applying for a loan must be done at the bank’s office. Any potential user looking to bank through the Boardwalk Bank’s website canview the features and how they can perform online banking through the test demo. It wasnoted that the demo does not resemble a typical online banking video tutorial demo.Rather, this demo allows the potential user to navigate through the various screens as ifhe/she were a current user, thereby, allowing them to set up dummy bill payments, alerts,view transactions, etc. In addition, it provides a description of what the screen and eachfeature listed on it entails. This website is perfect for those looking to perform online banking just to viewtheir accounts, pay bills online and appreciate its simplicity. If you are looking foradvance online banking features, this banking website is not ideal for such purpose.Total Score: 33 Time Spent: 30 min 32
  • 35. 25. Presidential Bank - Website design is rudimentary and slightly distracting/confusing. A user gets afeeling of information overload upon entering the site, due to several styles of crampedtext, several color schemes, and mismatched textured backgrounds. Banking rateadvertisements dominate the page supported by animated flashing graphs, anothercontributor to the sites overall clutter. The site is divided into several functional sectionswith multiple scrolling windows within the page causing the page to scroll awkwardlywhen attempting to scan the page for information. Customer service information isavailable on the main page via email or telephone. Current users must click a login button on the main page to get access to the loginpage and then choose from several online banking functions before an account login fieldappears, granting the user access to their account information. Logged in customers arethen able to transact online banking business, customize some simple banking features,apply for loans, or determine branch locations. Potential customers have the ability to review frequently asked questions,compare banking rates, product features, test the sites online banking simulation tool, oropen an account online. New accounts are easily opened by following a link on any pageto the bank’s one page application form. Additionally, Presidential Bank offersinvestment services through a third party provider Clarendon Securities, a link isprovided redirecting the user. Several important online banking features are missing from the site planning tools, calculators, ATM location finder, and mobile banking tools.Total Score: 32 Time Spent: 50 min 33
  • 36. 26. Provident Bank NJ - Provident Bank NJ’s website has an unorthodox layout with disperse informationall across the page. A large advertisement, which is placed in the middle, does not loadproperly and makes it difficult to find content. There is no clear distinction betweendifferent sections of a page and there is no concept of menus. Customers who areinterested in opening a CD account or savings account will not be able to find interestyield information. The website lacks details and descriptions of different products. Forexample, if someone likes to get more detail about checking account, they have to clickon a tabular link that is not intuitive at first sight. Similarly, finding more information ona topic or locating external references is not readily available. They should make theirwebsite more interactive and add multimedia such as online demo or videos. To their credit, they are one of the few banks with links to fees structure. Also,the section on financial assistance has some good web tools such as rent vs. buycalculator and college saving calculator. Current customers who receive social security payments can set up direct depositonline. Online banking is available to current customers but there is no information ontype of services available to them. There is a link to an interesting feature known asRemote Deposit, but there is no explanation on what it is supposed to do.Total Score: 31 Time Spent: 55 min 34
  • 37. 27. Valley National Bank - Valley National Bank’s website has a cluttered layout with inconsistent templateacross different pages. The extra space on each side of the main page could have beenutilized for providing more information for prospective customers. Color combination onthe website makes it difficult to read menus and gives an unprofessional feel. Extensivegraphics and large product advertisement makes it extremely unattractive. Even though,it has a good overview of privacy and security information, it needs to undergo a majoroverhaul to compete against top banks. Prospective customers can gain information about different products by accessinglinks on main page. Online Demo is not easy to find and it requires some technicalexpertise to understand various features and products. There is no option to open anonline account, which could be a big turn away for potential clients. Also, it does nothave current CDs and saving interest rates anywhere on the website. Surprisingly, newcustomers can apply for loans directly through the website. Mortgage seekers can findinformation and interest rates on the main page. Current customers can benefit from online banking by paying bills, checkingaccount balances, transfer money, and download statements into Microsoft money andQuicken. They can setup notifications based on different types of balance states. There isa Co-Browse feature, which looks interesting but there is no information on how itfunctions.Total Score: 30 Time Spent: 40 min 35
  • 38. 28. Ascencia Bank - Website design is basic and looks less professional in comparison to other onlinebanking web pages. The site’s use of solid flat colors without shading or blending isreminiscent of early web design. Plain text is used with only bolding or italicsenhancements, rectangle straight line borders are used to offset topics. All sub web-pages are over crowded with text and generally information can not be ascertained in aglance. Additionally, the main page is also missing several standard features generallyavailable to customers within the industry including; site search field, direct accountlogin field, bank contact information, ATM/branch location tools, and rollover topicdropdown subfields. However, a current customer well acquainted with Ascencia mayappreciate the simplistic web design and lack of advertisements. Once a current customer is logged onto the site they are able to see a list of theircurrent accounts listed by account number, and conduct banking as needed. Again, theuser interface is very simple and straight forward. Online customer service is verylimited as well. Only a list of frequently asked questions and answers are provided tohelp customers resolve problems, issues not listed or unresolved issues must be addressedby a bank representative via telephone or email. Potential customers must surf through most of the site in order to develop a strongunderstanding of Ascencia product offerings. Although, they do provide an onlinebanking demonstration tool to get new users familiar with the sites banking interface.The “Open Account” hyperlinks could be better presented and easier to identify.Banking rate information is customer friendly and can be determined with little effort. Ingeneral, the Ascencia site is feature and customer service limited.Total Score: 30 Time Spent: 45 min 36
  • 39. 29. Bank of Hawaii - Design of home page is busy and slightly distracting. Bank service ads and offerscontinually cycle across the top of the page. Blue text is used predominately against awhite background which is difficult to read due to the large amount of text used and smallfont size. Orange and red text is used additionally to offset important links althoughagain slightly distracting. Accented icons are well-designed and effectively help guidethe user where appropriate. Art is limited in use but confusing as to its purpose. Bankproducts are listed by function in bulleted list on the center of the page with hyperlinks tomore information. Select banking rates are predominantly listed for easy identification. Bank of Hawaii’s site is very customer service friendly. Current customers areprovided online and telephone assistance at the top of every webpage, and allow thecustomer to setup a return call from a bank representative. Financial planning tools forbudgeting, retirement planning, home buying, and loan calculators are easily accessedfrom the main page and continue to be displayed on each successive webpage. Onlinebanking features including mobile banking tools are clearly defined and easy to setup. Potential customers are also treated to a very customer service focused onlineatmosphere. The bank has created interactive demonstration simulations for several oftheir online banking tools including mobile banking and general online banking. Thesesimulations give customers the ability to actually try out the related services in a trulyinteractive environment. The demos should attract potential customers to the bank. Bank of Hawaii’s strong customer service emphasis and online productsimulations more then makes up for any clutter associated with information overload.Total Score: 30 Time Spent: 45 min 37
  • 40. 30. North Fork Bank - North Fork Bank has a decent overall layout but needs to improve its onlinebanking functionality. Information is more readily available for current customers ascompared to potential customer. For instance, current customers can enroll for onlinebanking, whereas potential customers have to visit a bank to open an account.Mortgages and consumer loans can not be applied via online thus making bankingexperience more inclined toward brick and mortar style. Colors and menus are in parwith normal convention, but excessive advertisements and graphics offset overall design.Demo of online bill payment and online banking is not constructed properly making itdifficult to understand if the two are linked together for customers. Users can obtaininformation on insurance and brokerage services, but they can not obtain quotes or applyonline. Current customers can perform several tasks such as stop payment, loan payment,and transfer money from their online portal. They can also add payee and setuprecurrence for online billing. A nice feature available to current customer is that they canview pie graph of their activities. Also, they can customize start page to display mostimportant information according to customer’s preference. They have to add more features to online banking in order to compete with otherranked banks. Similarly, they have to make it more convenient and user friendly.Total Score: 23 Time Spent: 40 min 38
  • 41. V. Conclusion As expected none of the 30 banking websites reviewed matched the ideal bankingtemplate exactly. However, several banking sites did contain the majority of theattributes prescribed and offered services and features beyond simple online banking. Interms of security, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo offered all the templateattributes required for an ideal banking website. As far as convenience is concerned,Bank of America, Chase and Wachovia ranked the best, providing users with superior,easy to use, site navigation and search tools. Wells Fargo, Citibank, Washington Mutual,HSBC and Commerce offered the highest ranked online functionality, providingdemonstration tools, excellent site design (balance of texts and graphics), and personalsite preference customization opposed to default views provided on the majority of onlinebanking websites. All of the banks reviewed provide basic online account serviceshowever, Bank of America, Chase and Citibank standout as industry leaders by providingenhanced online account services prescribed by the ideal template. Lastly, under theelement of information availability most banking sites rank very well, keeping bankinginformation, products, and customer contact information readily available on their sites.Finally, the highest overall score awarded of 60 (max possible 64) went to Bank ofAmerica and Chase, resulting in a tie. Lastly, the project team has drawn several conclusions based on observationsmade during the banking site analysis pertaining to; the size and etymology of the bank.Large banks constantly had well designed, feature rich websites that stressed productsand services while simultaneously emphasizing the bank’s branding. Additionally, largerbanks have invested resources in customer service channels, such as online videodemonstrations, service simulation tools, and advanced online documentation help tools. 39
  • 42. By promoting these online customer service solutions larger banks have reduced theirhuman capital costs spent on service representatives and still provide high levels ofcustomer service. Small banks generally have well designed websites however; aconscience attempt to brand the bank’s image via the site is not apparent. Interestingly,smaller banks generally have unique services unavailable at bigger banks including, autoleasing programs or health savings accounts. The focus of customer service at smallerinstitutions is also at a more personal level and direct customer service interaction isencouraged. Banking websites are also strongly influenced by the bank’s origin. Brickand mortar banks have a different feel than exclusively online banks. Branch and ATMlocations need to be stressed for obvious reasons on B&M sites, yet these banks also usetheir physical presence to promote convenience and reliability. Exclusively, online bankstend to stress their low cost solutions to promote and attract customers. A distinct thirdversion of online bank also exists in the form of a brokerage banking account. Brokeragefirms have started to offer traditional banking services to their investor clients. Thisstrategy works in two ways; first current customers can keep all of their financial data ina signal repository and eliminate the need for multiple accounts. Second, the brokeragecan attract novice or unlikely investors by allowing them to open banking accounts in thehopes of securing their future investment business. These hybrid sites consistently hadthe least amount of features and the poorest customer service tools; however they allwithout fail had links back to their more sophisticated main brokerage websites. In thefuture, we anticipate that with the improvement in technology, banks will offer moreonline services to attract customers. 40