The Benefits Of A Mobile-First Website

Citadel FCU’s new mobile-responsive website is one part of a larger initiative to build the optimal digital experience.


Citadel FCU
Data as of 03.31.17

HQ: Exton, PA
MEMBERS: 184,289
strong>12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 13.2%
ROA: 1.09%

Philip Faris joined Citadel Federal Credit Union ($2.8B, Exton, PA) less than three years ago with the express purpose to steward the next generation of the institution’s digital delivery systems.

Within the first 100 days upon arrival, Faris and Citadel’s leadership team established a digital roadmap with a principal objective being to update the credit union’s marketing website.

The time had come for the credit union to implement a modern content management system and redesign its older site with an eye toward mobile.

We wanted to gain more sophisticated capabilities, Faris says.

More Sophisticated Capabilities

First, Citadel needed to find the right content management system for its needs.

A content management system (CMS) allows users to easily create and edit digital content but not all systems are built equally. Citadel identified capabilities it needed from its CMS including personalization, A/B testing, and email integration and evaluated six platforms.

After selecting Sitecore for its CMS, the credit union focused on how to design a website within its new framework. After completing due diligence on an additional eight website design firms, Citadel landed with TBG (The Berndt Group) of Baltimore, MD, a short car ride from the credit union’s Philadelphia-area headquarters.

Citadel used TBG to redesign its website. Find your next partner in Callahan & Associates’ online Buyer’s Guide.

Citadel launched its new website on June 7, 2017. Prominent new features include product comparison tools, a Learn & Plan financial literacy blog, improved navigation, a geolocation branch locator to help users locate the nearest credit union branch and set a favorite default branch. Importantly, the design feels current.

It’s visually engaging, Faris says. We like the orientation and how it answers the question, ;What are you here to do today?

By grouping its services into six big buckets Bank, Save, Borrow, Invest, Protect, and Learn & Plan Citadel creates a user-friendly website experience.

The site also features a fully responsive design that provides users with the same experience across mobile, tablet, and desktop. Given the adoption rate of mobile banking, this was an important design element for the credit union.

Mobile is a highly used platform, and we only see that growing, Faris says. We want to make sure members and non-members can access our products and services across any device.

The credit union’s site is fully responsive, meaning members have the same experience regardless of device.

Member Feedback, Future Additions, And A Tech-Forward Focus

In designing the new website, Citadel considered expert partner advice as well as user feedback.

A feedback card hosted on the previous iteration of the website provided more than a year’s worth of information on what members wanted improved and points of friction.

The feedback card continues to live on the website today as a pop-up bar on the bottom right corner of the website. And so far, the numbers suggest users find the site more engaging and useful.

According to Faris, there has been a significant uptick in overall site traffic, gains in organic search traffic, an increase in time on site, and reduced bounces. Anecdotally, Faris also has seen positive member feedback, some of which the credit union promotes on the site’s Hear From Our Customers section.

Site users can access Citadel’s comment card by clicking on the Feedback tab at the bottom right of every page.

Although Citadel FCU’s new website is performing well, the cooperative has not finished adding new capabilities. On the horizon, Faris says, is a robust automated marketing campaign element complete with triggered email marketing communication based on user behavior.

This is a technology the credit union wanted from the beginning; however, it would have added months to the initial rollout. So, the credit union opted to rollout and add additional functionality rather than wait months or years for the entirety of the design to come together.

We look at the launch as a huge milestone, Faris says. But it’s also the beginning.

We want to make sure members and non-members can access our products and services across any device.

Philip Faris, Vice President Digital Delivery, Citadel FCU

The website launch is also only one part of a larger effort to introduce technologies that build an optimal digital experience for members.

For example, the credit union upgraded its online and mobile banking offerings in the first quarter of 2017. It is also looking to build out a member relationship management tool. And as the credit union incorporates more third-party partners, it is investigating how to leverage APIs to better manage overall user experience.

Citadel has other wants as well, such as upgrading its cross-functional efforts. But where to start?

We have a big list of things we want, Faris says. We have to find the right prioritization. We’re trying to figure out to build faster while still delivering an excellent member experience.

December 28, 2017

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