Technology Guidance for Bank and Credit Union Professionals

A collection of advice by InetSolution about programming, security, design and marketing for bank and credit union professionals.

Latest Entries


Top 5 Most Popular CMS for Credit Union Websites

Posted by Erin Sherrill

Most credit union websites today are built on top of either commercial or open source content management systems. We performed an analysis of credit union websites throughout the country to identify which content management system each website is using and have identified the top five most popular commercial and open source content management systems credit union websites use.

Top 10 Essential Website Features Every Bank and Credit Union Should Have in 2020

Posted by Erin Sherrill

Technology continues to evolve rapidly with many consumers now primarily using mobile devices and voice assistants to interact with digital content on a daily basis. Banks should evaluate their websites to ensure they’re positioning themselves to provide an exceptional experience (or at least a better experience than their competitors) for consumers on today’s devices. There are 10 essential website features banks and credit unions should ensure are in place in 2020.

Why We Like WordPress, but Not for Banks and Credit Unions

Posted by Donovan Myers

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the web today. WordPress is one of the easiest platforms available for beginners to pickup and use with no programming experience. It fulfills its core purpose remarkably well! But while we like and use WordPress as a convenient tool for building simple, low-security websites, it is not a platform we recommend to banks, credit unions, or other security-sensitive organizations for their websites.

Advice to Banks and Credit Unions for Establishing Website Development Budgets

Posted by Erin Sherrill

If you're in charge of determining a budget for website development & ongoing management for a bank or credit union, the most critical success factor is ensuring you follow a reliable formula. One such formual is:

Reasonable Expectations + Reasonable Budget = Likely Success

“How much should this project cost?”

That’s an important question and it's critical that you involve the people most capable of answering that question accurately early in the process. In nearly all cases, you'll need key technical, creative, and management people with expertise in the technical processes, as well as the strategic & tactical goals of the organization to arrive at a reliable answer.


Quick Fix to Improve Website Speed for Search Engine Optimization Benefits

Posted by

For the past two years, Google has evaluated a website's page speed as a factor when ranking search results. The majority of bank and credit union websites we tested in the past year could realize a significant speed boost by just one simple change. In this blog post, we'll look at what it is and a few ways to fix the issue quickly.

Customers Complaining About Unexpected Popup Ads on Your Bank or Credit Union Website?

Posted by Erin Sherrill

Getting complaints about popup ads on your bank or credit union website even though your website doesn't contain any popup ads? Often website owners immediately think their website has been hacked, but often the root cause is actually very different.

The Human Side of Accessibility

Posted by Misti Kenison

Often when we discuss website accessibility, it is within a technical or even legal explanation of the necessity of making a site compliant. But I’d like to argue that there is another side to accessibility that is far more important.

Creating Accessible, Fillable PDF Forms

Posted by Donovan Myers

One of the common things we find when scanning a site for accessibility issues are linked PDFs that are not accessible. It may seem daunting to create or update your existing PDFs in an accessible format, but Adobe Acrobat provides Accessibility tools to do just that.

Three Types of Caching that Affect Website Content

Posted by Donovan Myers

Learn about the three types of caching present in most modern website and hosting configurations, and how caching can affect the time it takes for visitors to see changes live on your website.

Simple Getting Started Suggestions for Bank and Credit Union Search Engine Optimization

Posted by

Have you found that search engine optimization is frustrating, time consuming, and rarely delivers the results you hoped to achieve? SEO for banks and credit unions isn’t a waste of time, but most marketers are using tactics that do not align with the results they expect to achieve. To see a worthwhile return on your SEO investment, you need to first determine realistic objectives and then align tactics that will achieve them. In this post, we'll explore at a high level a few common unrealistic expectations and layout some simple steps to get started with search engine optimization.

WCAG 2.0 (AA) Website ADA Accessibility for Banks and Credit Unions

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Banks are being threatened with lawsuits because their websites do not meet current ADA accessibility standards for people with disabilities. The standard that the lawsuits are referring to is WCAG 2.0 (AA), which is a series of guidelines and technical requirements that a website must meet in order to deliver an optimal experience to users who are blind or have other impairements. In this post I'll answer some of the frequently asked questions about WCAG 2.0 (AA) and how it relates to bank and credit union websites.

Extending the Kentico BizForm Recorded Data Grid

Posted by Matt Davis

In our custom development of Kentico based solutions we are often creating new modules or extending existing modules to provide easy to use features for our clients. Recently I was trying to improve a few custom BizForm actions that I had directly wired into BizFormEditData.ascx and its code behind. These few bits of custom code hadn’t caused any issues yet with hotfixes, but it was time to improve these ideas and separate them out from the Kentico core files.

WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Leads to Panama Papers Leak

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Security researchers have pointed the finger at a WordPress plugin as the root vulnerability that allowed hackers to execute the data theft that resulted in the Panama Papers leak. This further reinforces our recommendation to financial institutions that WordPress is a risky web platform for banks and credit unions to use for any public-facing websites.

Kentico SEO Toolkit Makes Bulk Editing Page Titles and Descriptions Easier

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Kentico makes editing page title and meta description tags easy, but if you're performing frequent editing of large numbers of pages as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, then using the CMS user interface can be a slow process. We developed an SEO tool to make this easier for ourselves and this week we've decided to make it available for free to anyone using Kentico 9.

Best Practices for Launching Live Chat for Banks and Credit Unions

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Live, text-based chat is a standard feature on nearly all large, profitable eCommerce websites today. Banks and credit unions are also finally starting to see the value in quickly connecting with prospective and existing customers using live chat systems on their websites; however, many banks and credit unions are not sure how best to get started. Let's examine a few good practices to get started.

Protecting Bank and Credit Union Twitter Accounts from Hacking

Posted by Jason Sherrill

As banks and credit unions begin to adopt Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools into their mainstream marketing and customer service channels, hackers are discovering ways to lure bank and credit union employees into becoming unwitting accomplices in launching successful phishing attacks. I'll show you how a typical attack occurs and offer suggestions to avoid becoming a hacker accomplice.


How to Make Sure You’re in Control of Your Bank Website

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Being that we’re in the business of website hosting and website development for banks and credit unions, we assist with a lot of website moves throughout the course of a year. Having been working with banks and credit unions to move, upgrade, redesign and create new websites for over 12 years now, I’m still surprised at how often I see one major issue that still catches bank and credit union managers by surprise.

Low Cost Usability Testing for Banks and Credit Unions Pays Big Dividends

Posted by Jason Sherrill

When was the last time you conducted a simple usability test on your website? Are you conducting usability tests on a regular basis? If you’re like most website managers, then it’s probably been awhile since your last test, if you’ve done one at all. But if you’re not conducting regular usability testing to identify and fix issues on your website, you’re leaving money on the table. And yes, this even applies to websites that don’t directly sell products online.

WCAG - Benefits of Making Bank Websites ADA Accessible for Visually Impaired Users

Posted by Jason Sherrill

When planning your new bank or credit union website, did you consider how easily visually impaired users can interact with your technology? If not, then you may have missed an important opportunity to service valuable members. Website owners often overlook the need to make the site accessible for those members with disabilities, especially those who are visually impaired.

How To: Tracking Radio and TV Advertising Traffic in Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Banks and credit unions often use radio and television ads that aim to drive visitors to special landing pages on their websites. Understanding which ads are driving the most traffic and highest conversion rates on your website is important to maximizing your advertising budget. In this video, I'll show you how to setup an easy tracking mechanism to report response rates inside of Google Analytics -- without having to touch the code in your website.

Failover or Disaster Recovery Sites on a Budget for Banks and Credit Unions

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Banks and credit unions should plan ahead for a fast and efficient response if their main website is ever hacked or defaced in any way. One key preparation step is to have a failover or disaster recovery website that is always online, free from infection of any malicious code, and ready to replace the main website temporarily. Unfortunately, not all content management systems or website platforms allow for multi-server web farms or geographically distributed systems. Even when the platform does support it, not all banks and credit unions can afford the costs. Let's look at a way that banks and credit unions can do failover on a budget.

Stop Using This Word To Refer to Talented Human Beings

Posted by Jason Sherrill

There are a few terms that people commonly use in corporate America today that make employees feel more like machines than talented souls with the capability to deliver meaningful work and positive customer interactions. Managers often use one of these words frequently and casually without knowing that it invokes cringes and barely discerinble muttering form the most talented people in the room.

Upgrade Your Website CMS to Meet New FFIEC Guidelines with Multi-Factor Authentication

Posted by Matt Davis

The latest FFIEC security guidelines recommend that financial institutions add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to all Internet systems, including website content management systems. Most website content management systems do not yet provide multi-factor authentication, but we have a solution for that.

Usability Tip: Use Consistent Terminology That Users Understand

Posted by Jason Sherrill

In this video post, I share advice that is applicable to all websites, but is a topic that we encounter frequently on bank and credit union websites and nearly always have to address. Fixing usually takes just a few minutes and will make your website easier to use and support for your customers.


Plan for Browser Obsolescence to Keep Moving Forward

Posted by Jason Sherrill

It’s 2015 and many banks and credit unions are still spending time and money supporting Internet Explorer 7 and 8 while simultaneously trying to move forward building modern responsive websites optimized to take advantage of current desktop and mobile technologies. How should a bank or credit union determine when to stop officially supporting old browser versions on their websites?


CPAs Should Employ Methods to Protect Client Data

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Certified Public Accountants handle enormous amounts of sensitive data when working with their business and individual clients, but many CPAs are not aware of the risk that they're subjecting their clients to when they send or receive documents through many common sharing methods today. Let’s look at three of the most common methods by which CPAs unwittingly put customer data at risk.


A Customer Reported Suspicious Pop-ups on Your Website. Has it Been Hacked?

Posted by Jason Sherrill

This is one of those calls that makes the hair stand up on your neck. A customer calls your service center distressed because she is seeing suspicious looking pop-ups for credit reports, free loans, or unseemly products when she visits your site. She is concerned that your website has been hacked. You have followed good security practices and your trusted security partner has said that there is no malicious code on your website. What could be causing your customer to see this unusual pop-ups touting free credit scores or credit card offers only when she visits your website?


Critical Website Assets Every Bank and Credit Union Must Own

Posted by Jason Sherrill

I work with many new banks and credit unions every month to help them launch new websites, migrate websites into new hosting environments, and help put DDoS mitigation and other security protections in place. A surprising number of the financial institutions that come to us for help are in a very precarious position with regard to ownership and access to the control mechanisms critical web properties, including their domain registrar account and DNS administration. When time is of the essence, not knowing who holds the keys to these web properties can create significant delays in getting services transferred or restored. If you’re a bank or credit union executive responsible for managing disaster recovery or information security risks, you should set aside some time today to ensure that you know who manages these three important assets.


Why Delivered Secure Reports the IP Address and UserAgent String of Recipients

Posted by Jason Sherrill

A Delivered Secure user recently asked what the External IP Address and Browser UserAgent String values are that we provided in an email notification when someone picks up a file you’ve sent. These two pieces of information help to form an audit trail and provide the sender of the secure message a level of validation that that person who received the files is intended recipient. Are there any security risks associated with highlighting this already public information? Let’s explore that question further.

“How much will this project cost?” May not be the Best First Question to Ask

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Usually the first question prospective clients hope I can answer quickly is, “How much is this going to cost?” That’s a reasonable question, but unless you know exactly what you want and can provide detailed specifications to your development team, you're not likely to receive an estimate with high degree of accuracy. In most situations, you'll achieve a better outcome by sharing your budget amount with a trustworthy partner and asking, "I have X dollars available for this project. How can I best maximize my value in this project?"

Bank Website Being Flagged as Phishing Site?

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Banks are naturally concerned when a customer reports that her security software is identifying the bank's website as a potential phishing site. In many cases, these reports are false positives and do not mean that someone has compromised your website, but there are steps that you should take to ensure the safety of your website and to assure your customers that the site is safe. 

Peninsula Bank Unveils New Modern Website

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Peninsula Bank is nestled in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a region where you can still have snowball fights in July, but people are unusually warm & friendly. When the awesome folks there asked us if we could help them modernize their website, we were happy to oblige.

Mintuition.org Makes its Debut

Posted by Jason Sherrill

The Filene Research Institute unveiled its latest cool web app called Mintuition (www.mintuition.org). Mintuition will help students and parents better evaluate college and career choices by helping to quantify the Return on Tuition a student can expect after completing a degree from various colleges. Filene gets all the credit for the data analysis and fancy algorithms driving the web app, but we’re quite proud of the responsive design and slick code driving the app. 

Removing Meta Data from Documents on Bank Websites

Posted by Jason Sherrill

When you upload documents, such as PDFs or Word files, to your website you may be unwittingly divulging information that could prove useful to hackers and other outside parties. If you’ve had any sort of vulnerability assessment performed on your website, you may see a reference to this metadata existing on your website. While it’s a relatively low risk threat, to stay in the good graces of your risk department, you’ll likely want to remove this data from documents before you publish to your website.

Delivered Secure v4.0 Brings New Drop Off Feature and Security Enhancements

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Delivered Secure, our secure messaging and document delivery web app, is getting a handy new feature and some security enhancements. The new Drop Off feature will be especially useful for loan officers in banks and credit unions. 

Complex Passwords Harder to Crack, but It May Not Matter

Posted by Jason Sherrill

If your organization provides any computer security training at all then it should be no news to you that long, complex passwords are more difficult to crack than the more simple passwords that most users choose today; however, nearly all people I’ve talked who work in banks don’t realize how fast their passwords can be cracked by today’s modern computers. Many people will be surprised at this chart. 

Unusual E-mail Marketing Move That Caught My Attention

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Email marketers are used to a majority of recipients ignore their email campaigns. After ignoring dozens or more, Stonyfield finally did something yesterday that got me to open one of their campaigns, and I loved it!

Why a simple typeo may be leaking your business's private data

Posted by InetSolution STaff

Have you ever mistyped an email address? Ever had someone misspell yours? Email address typos occur all the time, and these misspellings can actually be a very large security concern for your business.

Are you choosing a good password?

Posted by InetSolution STaff

Passwords, ugh, don't you hate them? Passwords are a shared annoyance and inconvenience for all of us these days. Passwords are our main line of defense to verify we are who we say we are and to protect our identity and data. Since passwords are such a critical component to our daily technology lives we've been forced to make them less "guessable" more cryptic and thus harder to remember. The most common technique for making your password has been to take a word, it is called a pass-WORD after all, and add some capitals, a number and then maybe some funky symbol like #, % or !. This is great, but surprisingly enough, this isn't really as secure as it could be AND it's silly hard to remember. Today the witty folks at xkcd, an online daily comic for techie nerds such as ourselves, posted a great little comic covering this topic.

5 Creative Uses for Secure File Exchange

Posted by InetSolution STaff

Secure File Exchange is one of those apps that we just love to work on because there are so many creative ways our customer's using it. So, we figured we would share a few:

5 Tips to make Instant Messaging more effective

Posted by InetSolution STaff

This topic has probably been written to death, and I'm sure we're all instant message experts by this point, but every once in awhile it's good for a reminder. With our team here at InetSolution the most used tool in our collaboration toolbox is probably instant message chat. While it's the most frequently used instant messages and chats are probably the easiest place for misunderstandings and miscommunications to occur. IM’s are typically rapid and un-edited messages. To help make IM's be more effective I wanted to put out a couple of points that I keep in mind in hopes to minimize confusion and miscommunication. 1) Re-read before you hit enter – I’m as fast of a typer as the next web-geek, unfortunately my brain works faster than my fingers. I often find that I’ve left out a word, combined two words or some combination of the two in probably half of my mess...

Web Analytics that Measure Website Value for Credit Unions and Banks

Posted by Jason Sherrill

If you're a bank or credit union marketer, you should be using an analytics tool to measure your website's impact on your organizational goals. But what metrics are you paying attention to? If you're like most executives, your answer is probably visitor count, page views, referrals and, if you're doing pay-per-click advertising, then PPC spend. But what good are these numbers? How do these metrics translate into dollars, either earned or saved? If those are the only analytics you're paying attention to, you need to read this.

Security Tips for Banks to Protect Customers Through Better Online Banking System Security

Posted by Jason Sherrill

A judge in Michigan may have set a precedent when he ruled in favor of a small business that sued Comerica Bank for reimbursement of $561,000 to recover money that hackers stole from the business' account as a result of a phishing scam. The judge believed that Comerica should have done more to safeguard its customer's assets. Unfortunately many banks and credit unions lack adequate security & notification features in their online banking systems to help customer protect themselves. But many of the tools and technologies that could have prevented Comerica's loss are available to all banks and at minimal cost. I'm going to introduce you to four security features that can help customers proactively protect their assets and subsequently lower the loss risk to banks and credit unions. 

The Most Common Elements in Mobile-Optimized Bank and Credit Union Websites

Posted by Donovan Myers

We studied over 30 bank and credit union websites to evaluate mobile-optimization levels. We discovered consistent features throughout nearly all of the bank and credit union mobile websites, but were disappointed that a couple of key features are missing from a majority of these mobile-optimized websites. 

Free Guide for Bankers Considering Mobile Apps and Mobile-Optimized Websites

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Based on our project pipeline, 2011 is proving to be the year when small to medium sized credit unions and banks are finally taking action to provide mobile-optimized services to their customers. According to our data, consumers aren’t sitting idle when it comes to using mobile devices to interact with their financial institutions. Banks and credit unions who have been standing on the sidelines with regard to mobile would be wise to start planning a strategy now.

The Security Mirage

Posted by Jason Sherrill

We here at InetSolution are big TED fans. If you’re not up on the TED movement, check out ted.com for a whole array of videos that will move, inspire and intrigue you. I came across one the other day by Bruce Schneier. If you don’t know of Bruce, he does a lot of good thinking and writing on the topic of security. Not just internet security, but what it means in our culture, what its impacts are and how we perceive security as humans.

He was one of the speakers at a regional TEDx hosted at Penn State University. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments.

Making it easier to send big files

Posted by Erin Sherrill

At one point or another we've all had the same problem of needing to send someone a big file, only to attach it to an email, hit Send and then BOOM, the email program will return something like, “Sorry, the file attachment is to large.” Pretty frustrating. We've got two solutions for you.

A Security Tip that Every Bank and Credit Union Should Use to Protect their Social Media Accounts

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Most savvy bank and credit union executives are familiar with the term “SSL” and understand that SSL is an important tool for protecting sensitive data on their online banking systems; however, in my experience, only a small minority of these managers realize that SSL is also important when using their social media accounts. With the growing popularity of Twitter and Facebook as a customer facing communication channel between banks and their customers, it’s critical that these financial institutions protect their social media account identities just as carefully as they protect access to other sensitive systems. Here’s how you can force Twitter and Facebook to use SSL when you’re accessing sensitive account data.

Four Risky Data Sharing Methods CPAs Should Stop Using Immediately

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are entrusted with lots of sensitive data. CPAs need to share data with business and personal customers. There are some common practices that CPAs use to exchange data and files with clients that puts the data at risk. Review these practices and make sure that the CPAs in your firm know not to use these methods to send or receive sensitive data with clients.

A Method for Generating More Loans on Bank and Credit Union Websites

Posted by Jason Sherrill

Retail financial institutions (banks and credit unions) face the challenge of triggering a need for some of their products, such as car, home and similar loans. Putting a loan on “sale” doesn’t create the need for the product, rather it makes the product more appealing to a customer who already has the need. In other words, if a customer isn’t shopping for a car, she has no need for a car loan. So how can a bank or credit union use their website to increase loan volume by creating a need for something like a car loan? Is it possible to even create a sort of “impulse need” for a loan using a bank or credit union website? 
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