Big banks top 5 online media center designs

Banks’ digital media centers often resemble a bullet-pointed Word document, circa the mid-1980s. As newsrooms are the website space designated for banks to broadcast their most newsworthy news, it’s interesting that from a design perspective, most banks have left their newsroom pages to fossilize and petrify.

However, a few banks are breaking free of the monotonous newsroom mold to offer up a content product that’s actually alluring.

Here’s our top 5.

United States

BNY Mellon

In 2014, BNY Mellon released its revamped newsroom, and boy, a lot of thought went into it. After years of going down the beaten press release track, the megabank decided it was time for a change. “We recognize that that’s not how people consume their news currently,” said Colleen Krieger of the bank’s corporate communications in the newsroom’s release video.


Instead of bullet points, the newsroom is organized more like a magazine interface, in keeping with millennial reading preferences. The content itself matches the design’s millennial vibe, with world finance news coexisting happily with top exec interviews, blockchain experiment announcements, and tips from BNY Mellon interns. 

J.P.Morgan Chase

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States’ largest bank by total assets has invested in its news design, and it shows. Although the newsroom itself is fairly drab, their news tab is current. The bank hasn’t entirely done away with the bullet-point press release system, it’s only one facet of the newsroom – and it’s in blue. The rest of the newsroom consists of a mix of written, visual, and video content arranged in boxes of varying sizes.


For the parent company, the newsroom is very community-oriented, showcasing a number of programs and bank employees that are dedicated to giving back. While Chase’s newsroom is a grid of boxes with smiling people giving down-to-earth financial advice, it appears the company doesn’t think this relaxed vibe should extend to its investment arm. JPMorgan’s newsroom is a press release listicle in blue.

United Kingdom

The Royal Bank of Scotland

The UK’s third largest bank by assets easily wins the UK newsroom design competition. While the Kingdom’s other four big banks have stuck with the tried-and-true bullet point system, RBS’ newsroom is much more similar to JPM’s boxed blog-like format, with vibrant images to go with a wide range of topics: financial advice, economic analysis, developments and the bank, and CSR.


European Union

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank also seems to have grasped the basic principle that the listicle newsrooms of yesteryear are out. Instead, the German bank’s media center has opted for an assortment of boxes with news inside. However, the design – and the content – is much less vibrant than BNY Mellon’s. The colors are more subdued, the boxes are side by side, not interlocked, and the announcements are for bankers, not youngsters.


Still, replacing the list system with the box system demonstrates that Deutsche Bank is thinking out of the box. Interestingly, online German bank N26, whose tagline is “Banking by Design”, wasn’t particularly creative with its newsroom design.

ING Bank

ING Bank’s newsroom design is a long way from BNY Mellon’s Pinterest-like interface, but it wins points for adding a splash of color, the brand’s trademark orange, as well as pictures.

So while their newsroom is still just press releases, it looks more like a media publication than a list typed up on a word processor that’s still running on Windows XP.

At least they’re trying.

Following RBS, should your firm sign up for Facebook at Work?

FB@Work signs RBS as client

Facebook has made it clear for years that it wasn’t just satisfied attracting attracting over 1 billion individual users to the social network. Beginning in 2014, rumors coming out of Facebook showed that the company was working on a business product. Facebook wants to reach business users — the same users that spend more time on Linkedin while in the office. Users who turn to social networks not to post their most recent selfie, but to network in their industries, stay on top of impactful trends, and identify and connect with prospective clients.

FB@Work, as the product is now called, was just unveiled recently and the company just reported that it signed on RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) as its largest customer to date.

What is FB@Work

The early version of FB@Work is very similar to the consumer version familiar to over 1.5 billion registered users of the social network. The difference is that the enterprise version will be a much more secure, walled garden. So, to start, RBS employees will be able to connect with their peers at the firm and congregate into user groups based on pre-defined permissions.

This functionality is similar to the types of internal corporate social networks popularized by Yammer (now owned by Microsoft) and Jive Software. The social enterprise market is already pretty saturated with tools that function like collaborative intranets and take communication and collective work to a whole new level for the enterprise. Time will tell whether FB@Work will take its social network and enable users to connect and communicate with workers outside their firms. Financial service firms have their own unique archival requirements when communicating with clients, so Facebook will have to work with outside technologies to ensure compliance standards are met. FB@Work doesn’t currently function as a technology platform that other 3rd party apps could integrate into but all signs and messaging out of FB’s management points to such a future roadmap for the product.

As purely a messaging tool, Facebook will have to compete with massive incumbent, Bloomberg for its share in the financial services arena. Symphony, a communications tool developed and owned by a consortium of financial service firms, is making waves in fintech circles as it raises a war chest of capital to compete against Bloomberg’s dominance in messaging.

RBS was on an early trial conducted by Facebook and employee usage dictated the firm’s decision to rollout FB@Work more broadly:

“The pilot we’ve been running demonstrated we were ready for more,” said Simon McNamara, Chief Administrative Officer at the Royal Bank of Scotland, who oversees the bank’s rollout of the service. “The adoption rate was a phenomenal 90%.”

It will take more marketing to convince large IT departments that FB@Work is worth the hassle. Financial services firms normally take the wait-and-see approach towards new consumer-facing technology, so it’s interesting to see a bank become one of FB@Work’s most-prized early customers. Some CIOs have already communicated a certain level of skepticism around adopting these new social tools from a player with no real experience in selling into and servicing the needs of the enterprise.

“Social interactions within the enterprise largely support structured communication, collaborative work, finding and sharing experts and expertise,” John Baptista, an associate professor of information systems at the U.K.’s Warwick Business School says. Facebook may try to emulate that, but it will “struggle because its nature is instead to support user-centered, unstructured postings and to follow emergent activity streams.”

Like any popular new consumer tech, large enterprises have to contend with unregulated and uncontrolled employee usage. Financial services firms have approached the meteoric adoption of smartphones with in-house and bought solutions to enable employees to use their own phones to access corporate files and data. FB@Work will have to allay fears that Facebook’s own solution will be enterprise-grade in terms of security, safety, and compliance.

RBS plans to have 30,000 workers on its FB@Work network by March of next year, and its entire workforce of 100,000 using the platform by the end of 2016.

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