10 Banks, 10 Accounts is a 10-part series in which we sent one of our copywriters Riley on a mission to open a checking account at 10 different banks to find out how they make their customers feel, learn what they’re doing well and see what they’re doing poorly.

We’ve kept the banks anonymous to protect the integrity of the project—hopefully, you’ll see your institution in some of them. Hover or click on the bank names to learn more about them as you read. If this is your first time reading, start here to learn more about Riley and this project—10 Banks, 10 Accounts.

Hey, Riley here.

Last post I talked about the correspondence efforts of our 10 banks, about the calls, emails, and physical mail I received over the course of the project. I broke down what makes a piece of correspondence successful, and how some efforts fell flat. If you missed that one, check it out here

What you’re reading now, The Full Report, are my observations that may not have made it into that post. Think of them as my field notes.

This is the last official topic of the 10 Banks // 10 Accounts project. My next post will conclude the series and offer advice about moving forward in your institution.

Stay tuned, there’s a bonus post coming. I’ll be taking notes as I close each account, and I’ll report what these institutions do (or don’t do) to retain my business.

Top 10 Megabank // Billions & Billions (& Billions)

It was obvious that Top 10 Megabank was pushing digital—most emails dealt with the bank’s app and its voice assistant capabilities. Top 10 Megabank’s fraud protection awareness emails offered solid substance and integrated fantastically with its website content. I was a little disappointed at the lack of upsells and that I only received a lone personalized message prompting me to schedule an appointment.

Top 10 Megabank’s physical mail statements were well-designed and did a nice job of promoting the bank’s benefits and rewards program, along with some appropriate horn-tooting inserts about humanitarian causes the bank donates to.

Super Regional // $200-500B

Though Super Regional’s emails felt more targeted than Top 10 Megabank’s, they still left a lot to be desired. However, Super Regional’s financial education emails were topical and sensible. If I were a real client, I’d look forward to receiving them.

Aside from statements, the only physical mail I received was a single savings upsell.

Regional Hotshot // $100-250B

I was disappointed in Regional Hotshot’s app, and I felt a similar disappointment upon receiving the bank’s bland, formulaic emails. Though Regional Hotshot’s emails offered a better range of upsells than many of the other banks, none of them felt targeted, and none felt indicative of being a step along a larger overall financial path.

Regional Hotshot promoted its referral and rewards programs well. I’d be enticed, if I were a client.

Neobank // $100-250B

Because Neobank is a pioneer in online banking, I expected its digital marketing to be more accurate and interesting. However, I received nothing that indicated the bank has any sort of picture of who I am or what I need. The lack of upsells for savings accounts and the lack of FinEd promotion is very lame.

Don’t let this bank’s young vibe fool you. It’s not trying to create a better client experience. It’s simply a cost-driven competitor surviving off of novelty and aggressive rate.

Bank Absorber // $25-50B

I only received badly-designed electronic statements. No print pieces, either.

This bank had such a promising website, along with a reputation for digital targeting. I’m baffled and disappointed.

Regional Creeper // $10-25B

Another bank that fails to connect the dots between the financial tools I have and the financial tools I should get next.

As retailers, banks do a poor job at promoting a diverse array of products. Why wouldn’t you try to sell? You have to let your customers know that the financial safety net they need is made of many strands, not simply a padded checking account.

A positive note—the emails I received from Regional Creeper regarding bank-sponsored social events, disaster recovery assistance, and a yearly review were nice. They made me feel included as a member of the Regional Creeper family, rather than just another accountholder.

Explosive Growth // $10-25B

What a bizarre lack of emails. Explosive Growth is truly missing out on some opportunities.

Maybe you remember the struggle I had enrolling in Explosive Growth’s online banking platform? The employee whom I worked with to get enrolled was attentive and kind. Hearing from a real person, rather than just an automated email, was a relief. 

When is it most rewarding to receive an email sent by a real human? Any time it has to do with my account.

Aside from this aspect, Explosive Growth’s correspondence was generic and robotic.

Tweener // $10-25B

Zero emails. Zero. However, I did receive ugly physical statements with no promotional aspects.

Is this by design? Or out of neglect? Either way, it felt lazy and a tad standoffish.

Footprint Protector // $10-25B

About a third of the emails I received from Footprint Protector were merely notifications of the bank’s closure on various federal holidays.

That makes sense—throughout my tenure as a client, I didn’t get any sense of logic, initiative, or follow-through from Footprint Protector’s attempts to correspond with me.

The Little One // $2-5B

The only email I received that didn’t notify me of account activity was a checking upsell. It was the first email I ever received from The Little One, and it came on the same day I opened my account.

Would I realistically want to upgrade the same day I opened the account? Nah.

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