The numbers dazzle. There are 850,000 enrollees in online banking and in any given month, there are around 400,000 unique member visitors. That is why, for Pentagon Federal, the $15 billion Alexandria, Va.-based credit union, its newly revamped online banking site is a big deal.
The goal of the new site, which was announced in late March, is a better, more member-friendly site, said Laurie Horstmann, PenFed vice president of online delivery applications.
“This is a response to our members,” added Steve Troxel , director of new media marketing. “We added functionality they requested and we worked to improve navigation.”
A key at PenFed is the commitment to online channels, added Troxel, who said PenFed put up its first online banking site in the late 1990s and, right away, “We knew this was the future because of the demographics of our members. They move a lot. We were never branch focused. We knew the Internet is where we needed to be, to serve our members. It also helps us keep our expenses down.”
PenFed has about one million members, meaning 85% are signed up for the online service and about 40% log in monthly. That is a lot of online activity and, suggested Troxel, online channels enable the credit union to compete against the big boys without incurring the significant costs involved in maintaining an extensive branch network, said Troxel.
In tech speak, this iteration of the PenFed site is about 6.0, said Horstmann, meaning it stands as the sixth major revamp over the past 15 years.
While much of the site redesign was brewed internally, PenFed said it also listened carefully to members. “We put up a questionnaire, soliciting member input about what they liked and didn’t like,” said Troxel. “The functionality we included is driven by what members said they wanted.”
But PenFed is also using Web analytics tools to track the behavior of members, looking for patterns and trying to anticipate roadblocks that need fixing.
“People are spending more time on the site. Fewer people come in and leave from the main page,” elaborated Horstmann.
“In the redesign we worked to make navigation more intuitive and to streamline the site,” added Troxel, who indicated that, over time, the site, in adding features, had created confusion for some members. The new design aimed to produce a cleaner, more visually compelling site. “We saw where the pieces fit together and tried to reconnect them, to make a site members find easy to use.”
A goal for PenFed was to drive more loan applications to the Web and, said Troxel, “we already are seeing a majority of our mortgage applications coming in online.”