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 reviewed each of our 10 banks’ financial education resources, and how your organization can arrange and promote your existing resources to offer your clients more value. If you haven’t read that, you can do so 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.

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

Top 10 Megabank uses a nifty life-stages tool that asks you three questions about yourself, then sends you to a page with articles that might speak to the current stage of your financial journey. Very cool.

The bank has partnered with a third-party nonprofit that specializes in developing online academic curriculums. It’s a smart move, and the partnership has created a truly robust content library that’s built out with infographics, videos, etc.

But the FinEd pieces never integrate with Top 10 Megabank’s products, which makes the client journey feel a bit like running a 99-yard dash—close, but not all the way there.

Super Regional // $200-500B

This FinEd content sets the standard for simple work done well. It’s not as flashy as Top 10 Megabank’s content, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to providing a mix of media, a little variety can go a long way.

In addition, the content around certain services feels complete. For instance, Super Regional’s mortgage page includes a link to Super Regional’s loan officer locator and an online application, as well as the bank’s phone number.

When a client reaches the end of a piece of content, whether it’s a mortgage checklist article or a checking account product page, the all-important question to answer for them is, “So what now?” Super Regional provides potential answers to that question, and each answer works to facilitate a meaningful conversion between bank and prospect.

Regional Hotshot // $100-250B

Regional Hotshot scores big in the same areas as Super Regional. Its FinEd content ranks just as highly within the bank’s hierarchy as its products, and the different types of content connect well with each other.

I like how Regional Hotshot structures its FinEd articles like a course. It’s clear what I should read first. The question Regional Hotshot seems most concerned with is “Where do I start?” and they speak to that query fabulously.

This sort of structure, along with its intentionality and integration throughout the site, helps Regional Hotshot outperform the more flashy content elements employed by Top 10 Megabank.

Neobank // $100-250B

Neobank utilizes a financial wellness curriculum that, while dry and unappealing to look at, gets into the nitty-gritty of personal finances. It tells users how to think through budgetary decisions, like differentiating between needs and wants or thinking through the consequences of expenditures. For someone truly looking to change, Neobank’s content might be a godsend.

Outside the curriculum, Neobank’s articles worked as part of a greater step-by-step approach. For instance, a mortgage article about the pros and cons of renting vs. buying a home was followed by an instructional article on getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Nicely done.

Bank Absorber // $25-50B

After underwhelming experiences with this bank across the board, I was pleased with the quality of its FinEd resources. The articles are deep and informative, and they’re focused on helping clients make well-informed decisions rather than promoting products.

While Bank Absorber’s content could be structured a little better, the bank does a good job of linking its articles and product pages. I spent an afternoon going from one article to the next—the exact behavior you’re looking for from your site visitors.

Regional Creeper // $10-25B

Regional Creeper’s third-party FinEd curriculum is just lukewarm. Its short videos about products and processes feature basic motion graphics and impersonal voiceovers. Not the worst, but far from engaging.

The bank’s original articles are good, but they’re hard to sort through. Plus, they’re stuffed away into their own corner of the website, far away from related product pages.

Explosive Growth // $10-25B

Explosive Growth’s FinEd pieces are much more bank-oriented than customer-oriented. For the most part, its articles amount to nothing more than souped-up product pages. Some are more informative than others, but it’s straight copy, because Explosive Growth doesn’t employ graphics or videos within its presentation. More broadly, none of the content links to other areas of content. Sorting through the articles proves cumbersome.

Explosive Growth’s brightest spots come through articles in which the author included his or her contact info at the bottom. That sends a clear message of, “I’d love to talk to you more about this,” and it’s a powerful message. When developing your own FinEd content, I’d encourage you to think beyond the ubiquitous “Make an Appointment” button found at the bottom of most articles, and focus on FinEd as a way to spark more impactful contact with your bank’s clients and prospects.

Tweener // $10-25B

As I mentioned, Tweener utilized a third party for its FinEd resources until some time in 2018. The old resources were total yawners, but the bank’s new, original content is more interesting and aligned with its customer base. Tweener definitely checks the box on product/FinEd integration.

People are different. The customers in your footprint are facing unique challenges. It’s smart to listen to them and write specifically to them and their needs when formulating your content strategy.

Footprint Protector // $10-25B

Footprint Protector uses the same third-party FinEd provider as another bank on our list. Trust me—that stuff’s even worse the second time you see it.

Super lame, super dry… and I’m hoping I don’t see it a third time.

The Little One // $2-5B

Last and least, I can’t find a single FinEd resource offered by The Little One. In fact, the only headline I saw linked out to another website that wasn’t affiliated with the institution.

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