Website Design: 10 Reasons to Love the Homepage of City National Bank of West Virginia

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Sometime serendipity leads you to great places. Looking for inspiration this morning I did a random search on Google for “banks in West Virginia.” The top organic result was City National Bank, an 82-branch bank headquartered in Charleston, WV. If they were a fintech company, we’d be talking about how close they are to becoming a unicorn (current market value is just under $750 million).

And more importantly for our blog, City National has an awesome website. The overall look and feel is great, the polished graphics grab your attention, and it’s limited it to about 60 words of copy. Here’s 10 more reasons why it clicks with us:

  1. Site search is easy to find: Placed in the upper right with an purple magnifing glass to give it a little extra polish.
  2. The main navigation limited to four key items: Personal | Business | Mortgage | Wealth Management
  3. The Personal drop-down menu (not shown) includes: “Online & Mobile Banking” and “Online Account Opening” two important functions that are often difficult to find. It also lists “Avoiding overdrafts” first (see #10)
  4. Promo area well designed: The four rotating promos are beautiful, with great visuals and dramatic color.
  5. Visible call to action: The promo includes a specific call to action, “Add your card”
  6. Login area include help for new users: I really like how they split the button into thirds with Login | Demo | Enroll
  7. Account opening choices: It’s important to showcase the ability to open online since that’s still not widely understood. But extra points for City National for also not forgetting that many (most?) still like the support of opening in branch
  8. $5 e-statement credit: Great to see the bank sharing the cost savings from ridding the system from paper
  9. Overdraft avoidance:  Not only does the bank use the O-word (on the homepage no less), it even helps customers avoid them (see also #3 above) (see note 1).
  10. Suggestion box: After #9, I’m not surprised, but it’s also rare to see this level of encouragement to provide feedback to the bank.

Grade: A


1. If you go deeper into the overdraft avoidance advice, it’s not as consumer friendly as I expected. The bank could do more to promote overdraft protection options.

What Do We Call PFM as it Becomes Part of Digital Banking?

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The term PFM has gotten a bad rap. Clearly, Personal Financial Management is not a consumer-friendly term. You can’t use an acronym unless it’s ingrained in society (IRS, FBI, etc.). And stringing together three 3-syllable words to spell it out is too cumbersome (and doesn’t fit on a smartphone menu anyway).

So what do we call this thing formerly known as PFM? Today, I saw “money manager” used at America First Credit Union (an MX client). That’s a 56% reduction in syllables, but I fear it, and its longer sibling, digital money management, are still too generic to be meaningful for consumers. When you think about it, every single time you log in to your bank you are doing some type of “money management,” so that term doesn’t really call to mind the advanced feature set we in the industry have called PFM.

The best approach may be to simply not give it a name. PFM is really just additional features integrated into online or mobile banking. As those features become fully integrated, and relatively common, they become harder to single out with a unique term.

So here’s where I net out. Just between you and me, let’s keep calling it PFM within the industry (on our blog alone we’ve mentioned it in almost 500 posts). But when talking to consumers, let’s not create another confusing term. Especially since personal financial or money management is already an assumed benefit of digital banking.

Then, when looking to create more interest, use the classic marketing terms attached to “online” or “mobile” banking, for example:

  • Advanced online banking
  • Enhanced mobile banking
  • Do more with online banking
  • New & improved mobile banking
  • Features added to online banking
  • v2.0 mobile banking
  • Manage your money better with mobile banking

amex_cardsThat still leaves the problem of what to call it on a menu, or in a tab, if you offer a stand-alone service. Outside of banking, I think the most common term today is Advanced as in Google’s Advanced Search. Or, if you are potentially going to charge a fee, Pro is commonly used. If that seems too specific, it could be Premium or Select. Even the old credit card standbys, Gold, Platinum or Black, could be used.

Bottom line: FIs should use descriptions that fit with their other branding. Here, we are going to stick with PFM, with the understanding that the term should not be used on your website.


Opening graphic is from MX on the cover of its white paper on PFM Digital Money Management. 

Riding the Uber Wave: Capital One Rebates 20% for 1 Year

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uber_capitalone_phoneLast week, Capital One launched a national marketing promotion with Uber that provides a 20% rebate on rides for one year. And unlike many (most?) card offers, it’s good for both new and existing Capital One customers. However, it applies only to the bank’s Quicksilver cash-back card, so I’m out of luck with my Capital One Venture card.

But they did throw us non-Quicksilver customers a bone yesterday, with an email (see below) offering two free Uber rides (up to $30 each). For me, that’s probably about the same as the 20% rebate, so I was ready to fire up the app and swap out my Bank of America card. But wait, there’s that pesky fine print again. It turns out the free rides are only for new Uber customers. Out of luck again.


Overall, this is a great promotion. The bank gets both new cardholders plus a pile of Capital One cards stored in Uber’s app, a great retention tool (the primary goal?) along with a long-term revenue stream (albeit, not enough to recoup the cost of the 20% rebates, unless Uber is picking up a big chunk of the rebate).

The only thing I don’t like is the disingenuous email to non-Quicksilver customers. Capital One alludes to the fact that the free rides are for new Uber users (see highlighted body copy in screenshot below). But that statement is easy to overlook or misinterpret. It’s only when you get to the tiny type below, which is further hidden in a gray background (see highlighted fine print below), that the “new Uber customer” requirement is explicitly stated.

Why not just come out an say it clearly in the body of the email (or even in the subject line)? Existing Uber customers are going to find anyway when they try to redeem. Just be clear up front and save everyone the hassle! Better yet, don’t send the email to cardholders who are already using Uber (that could have been determined with an email match for me).

Final thought. Why not provide all cardholders an incentive to enter any Capital One card into the Uber app? For rewards cardholders remind them they can pay for their Uber rides with points (eg. Purchase Eraser). Or how about a sweeps? For example, one out of every 100 rides (or 1,000) are free to Capital One cardholders until May 30. That could be funded through interchange alone.


Capital One email to its Venture cardholders (23 April 2015)
Note: Highlighting mine