Differentiation: The Dot-Bank Website

By Walt Albro

Adopting a dot-bank website address provides a golden opportunity for community banks to differentiate themselves from their larger competitors, says Joshua Rowland, vice chairman, Lead Bank (assets: $126 million), Garden City, Mo.

Lead Bank is one of the early adopters of the new dot-bank top-level domain name. The bank is currently converting its existing dot-com website address to dot-bank. The transition is expected to be completed by year’s end.

“Dot-bank is clearly an opportunity for community banks to claim that we are on top of technological innovation just as much as our big brothers,” notes Rowland. “Perhaps community banks are even better poised than large banks to be nimble and responsive to technological advancements.”

Rowland spoke about the new dot-bank Web address on Tuesday, Oct. 6, during the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Denver.

The first dot-bank Web domains started to became available in June 2015. The dot-bank Web address is designed to be more secure—and therefore more trusted by customers. All dot-bank websites will meet advanced security requirements and only verified members of the banking industry can have a dot-bank domain.

In addition to strict registration requirements, the new domain will help prevent users from being redirected to fake bank websites, make it more difficult for criminals to create spoofed emails from a dot-bank website, and provide a higher level of encryption.

The new dot-bank domain opens up needed virtual real estate and provides new marketing and branding opportunities, according to the ABA. ​

Lead Bank has a history of 90 years. Previously known as Garden City Bank, the institution renamed and rebranded itself in 2010. The new brand defined the bank as “leading the way,” particularly in the area of innovative banking technology. Previously limited to customers in Cass County, Mo., the bank now serves customers throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“Lead Bank became an early adopter of dot-bank because we believe it’s our responsibility to innovate,” says Rowland. “Moving to dot-bank is simply another example our innovative approach. We strive to be a market leader, not a follower.”

When it first learned of the opportunity to convert to a dot-bank Web address, the bank’s Client Experience Committee began working on an implementation plan. As an adjunct, the committee created a cross-functional team (information technology, risk/compliance and marketing) to communicate about the proposed change both internally and externally.

Internally, the bank launched an email campaign for employees, explaining what dot-bank was and how a conversion to it would benefit the bank.

Next, the team developed a communications plan for customers and clients, including informational emails and statement stuffer. The bank also created a landing page for clients who go to the bank’s existing dot-com website. The page explains that the bank is converting to a dot-bank website, provides answers to some frequently asked questions and gives links to a few articles about the bank’s conversion.

Finally, the bank launched a media campaign that resulted in 27 mentions in various news outlets, including articles in The Kansas City Star newspaper and the Kansas City Business Journal. The bank did a news interview with the local NBC-TV station.

Rowland estimates that the TV campaign created 18,500 impression (per one-time view) and print created 190,000 impressions (two articles).

Dot-bank conversion allows a community bank to promote the fact that it can provide sophisticated digital tools similar to a larger bank. “It helps to overcome the perception that community banks are laggards and have less robust technology than larger, national banks,” adds Rowland.

Walt Albro is the content editor for ABA Bank Marketing, Washington, D.C. Email: Walbro@aba.com.

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