Skip to content
Thoughtfarmer intranet blog
Intranet Management

Best practices in designing and planning bank and credit union intranets

Here are some recommendations that can help any bank or credit union with designing a great intranet

9 minute read
Team Meeting Leaf Crop
You might also like…
Intranet use cases Thumbnail
Intranet use cases

Over the years, we’ve worked with many financial institutions.

We’ve engaged with these clients on projects of varying sizes, from speedy three-week get-’em-done’s to twelve-month behemoth efforts.

As it turns out, many bank intranets and credit union intranets fit similar planning processes.

While every company needs a unique intranet tailored to its employees’ needs and the company’s culture, some very noticeable patterns have emerged:

1. Identify and focus on customer-facing employees

There is one particularly effective way to gain intranet adoption and deliver business value: Make it easy for customer-facing employees to find the information they need.

Customer-facing employees fit into several common roles:

  • Bank teller
  • Call center operator
  • Loan officer
  • Mortgage officer
  • Business banking officer
  • Branch manager

These employees are the face of your company who can shape customers’ experiences. The information they need spans all types of financial products and services including:

  • Details about different account types (fees, interest rates, etc.)
  • Up-to-date interest rate sheets
  • Instructions for canceling checks
  • Trouble-shooting tips for using online banking
  • Account closure guides
  • Affidavit instructions for reporting unauthorized charges

By helping these employees quickly find information and do their jobs more easily you can increase their and customers’ satisfaction, which can directly impact the bottom line. Providing this information can also drive financial intranet adoption and help you make the case for investing in an intranet. But how exactly do you implement this on your intranet?

2. Create a dedicated section for customer-related information

From our many financial intranet implementations, one common practice that has emerged is a top-level navigation section specific to information about the bank’s products and services. Here’s a sample global intranet navigation:

  1. Home
  2. People directory
  3. About the company
  4. Products & services
  5. Tech & admin
  6. HR & career
  7. Fun/social

The Products & Services section is the real meat of a bank or credit union’s intranet. This is the material that front line staff need every day to provide stellar customer service. By consolidating the information needed for answering customer questions, you reduce the amount of searching employees will need to do.  This is an effective way to manage corporate knowledge. By including this section in the global navigation you ensure the information is just a click away (for some further reading on knowledge management, check out this blog post: Knowledge management: What it is and why it matters).  

3. Offer resources for branch operations

Another common practice is to create a bucket of information about daily branch management This includes information such as:

  • Security protocols
  • Opening and closing procedures
  • Teller cash-in and cash-out procedures
  • Courier pickup times
  • Night drop logs
  • Branch inspections

This information is particularly critical during an emergency, when your employees need to know where to access it. For example, during devastating storms that knocked out power, BOKF relied on their intranet to keep employees informed and updated.

Resource and branch information is often listed under the Products and Services area, which might have a broader title, such as “Banking Services”.

The decision about where this information goes should be based on user input and habits. Our Professional Services team focuses on user-centered design techniques such as intranet card sorting and task testing to inform those decisions. .​

4. Focus on employee engagement and knowledge sharing

A final practice we’ve seen is the focus on building a positive work environment. This includes online and offline efforts to keep employees engaged and enjoying their work, as well as helping them share knowledge and expertise. 

Common intranet features and activities that fit this pattern include:

  • Rich employee directory
  • Discussion forums focused on products & services
  • Recognition and shout-out forums
  • Internal classifieds
  • Community spaces for sports teams, recipe sharing, etc.

Intranet Buyer's Guide for Banks

Our Intranet Buyer’s Guide for Banks will guide you through a step-by-step process to finding the best intranet for your unique needs.

Download now
ThoughtFarmer Intranet Buying For Banks

Key takeaways for financial services intranet teams

Based on these patterns and a few intranet best practices, here are some recommendations that can help any bank or credit union build a successful intranet:s:

  1. Identify the common customer-facing roles at your bank
  2. Research these employees’ most common daily tasks and information needs
  3. Use structured, user-centric techniques to design your intranet’s site navigation
  4. Use intranet software that supports conversation, collaboration and knowledge sharing

Let’s take a closer look at how to choose the right intranet platform.

How to plan and choose the right intranet for your bank or credit union

Finding the right intranet might seem overwhelming, but it’s essentially about understanding your organization’s unique needs and objectives. 

Here’s a straightforward strategy to help you navigate this process:

Identify your challenges

Begin by pinpointing your organization’s specific hurdles, such as communication gaps or cumbersome document management processes. Gathering insights across departments will provide a comprehensive perspective.

Define your goals

Consider what your team hopes to accomplish with an intranet. This could range from enhancing internal communication to simplifying the onboarding process, or elevating your customer service game.

Focus on key features

Concentrate on the intranet features that are most important for banking operations. This includes secure document handling, effective search capabilities, customizable profiles, and online forms to streamline processes.

Consider banking-specific needs

Evaluate how various intranets meet the specific demands of financial service organizations, including, frontline efficiency, unified communications, and compliance training.

Do a free trial

Use free trials to assess how well the intranet fits into your environment. Focus on user experience and the platform’s impact on your daily operations.

Why banks and credit unions need an intranet 

In today’s banking world, relying on old-school communication methods and working in silos just isn’t cutting it anymore. We’re seeing too many overflowing inboxes, slow replies, and the all-too-familiar hassle of tracking down the right document. These roadblocks are more than just annoying—they’re actually putting a dent in productivity, making it tougher to keep employees happy and engaged, and ultimately, affecting how customers feel about their banking experience.

Then there are the frontline employees—essential in ensuring customers get top-notch service. When they’re out of the loop on important updates or can’t find the info they need, it’s a big barrier to providing the kind of service that leaves customers smiling.

How intranets can enhance banking operations 

Getting the right information quickly and accurately is just as critical as how the financial capital is managed. Intranets simplify operations significantly. They tackle unique industry hurdles, boosting communication and collaboration across the organization.

Let’s explore the benefits of adopting intranets within the banking landscape:

  • Unified communication platforms: Say goodbye to the mess of emails and mismatched systems. Intranets bring everything under one roof, making sure messages are clear, timely, and get to where they need to go, reducing the chance of missed updates.
  • Enhanced collaboration across distances: Thanks to tools like collaborative editing, document sharing, and detailed employee directories, being miles apart doesn’t matter anymore. Teams across different areas and functions can easily work together, driving projects without being held back by location.
  • Building trust through transparency: Trust is everything in financial institutions, and intranets help lay everything out in the open. Sharing a glimpse into how the company runs drives employee engagement, fosters a sense of ownership, and ramps productivity.
  • Support for hybrid work environments: For companies moving towards hybrid models, intranets are a lifeline, giving remote workers full access to everything they need. This keeps everyone in tune no matter where they are.
  • Gathering insightful employee feedback: Intranets open up a direct channel for understanding how employees feel, through real-time feedback. This insight is key to maintaining a positive workplace culture and tackling concerns quickly.
  • Facilitating organizational growth: As your organization expands, intranets make bringing new people into the fold easier. They’re the go-to spot for onboarding, training, and keeping everyone on the same page.
  • Centralizing information management: Intranets pull crucial documents, policies, and procedures into one place, so finding the latest info is a breeze.
  • Promoting unity across departments: Breaking down barriers, intranets encourage everyone to pull together, leading to better customer service and smoother projects.
  • Streamlining processes for efficiency: Moving traditional banking processes online, with automated workflows and digital forms, intranets cut through the red tape, making everything from loan processing to customer service quicker and more effective.

Features to look for in an intranet for banks and credit unions

Choosing the best intranet for your bank or credit union means looking beyond basic communication tools. It’s about finding a solution that empowers every team member, simplifies workflows, and enhances the organizational culture. Here’s what to prioritize:

  • Comprehensive staff directory: An easy-to-use directory is essential for connecting team members across various locations, simplifying the process of finding the right person for any task or project.
  • Central knowledge hub: A unified source for all bank-related information, from product updates to compliance guidelines, ensures everyone can access the most current and accurate data. This is crucial for facilitating knowledge sharing and enhancing collaboration.
  • Digital forms and workflow automation: These tools are vital for modernizing processes, minimizing manual errors, and accelerating processes from loan applications to customer inquiries.
  • Tailored news feeds: Personalized updates keep staff at all levels, from corporate to branch, informed about relevant news and strategic objectives.
  • Accessible policies and procedures: Making policies and procedures easy to navigate supports a culture of compliance and consistency across your operations.
  • Efficient document management: A strong document management system is key for facilitating collaboration, ensuring proper version control, and maintaining data integrity.

When evaluating intranet platforms, consider how well they address specific challenges in the banking sector. Look for functionalities that include secure financial data management, compliance training capabilities, and integration with existing technology.

Get our complete Intranet buyer’s guide workbook

Our white paper workbook “Intranet Buyer’s Guide” will guide you through a comprehensive process for selecting an intranet that fits your organization’s unique needs. 

The workbooks outline essential features and selection strategies, and highlights practical use cases, offering a glimpse into how a well-implemented intranet can revolutionize your banking operations.

Learn more about our intranet solutions for banks and credit union intranet solutions, and let’s take the next step toward a building more connected and efficient banking experience for both your employees and your customers.