Thursday, August 21, 2008

Banco Popular launches new website and e-account

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Earlier today I announced via Twitter that I was going to Banco Popular's (the largest bank in the island) new web site launch party. You may remember that a couple of weeks back, I was the first to announce Banco Popular's new online account management site. The site went into production early this month in a quiet beta were only certain people were invited (plus those that saw my original posting).

Today, the site has been completely switched over and when someone logs in they get to see the new online account management web site. I have to say that it looks very very pretty and works on my Mac's Safari, so that's always a plus! The site looks very simple and streamlined, unlike some other banking web sites which simply try to fit too much in too little space.

Because of my original blog posting, I was invited to attend today's official launch and press conference. We first had some cocktails where I got a chance to talk to the CEO, Richard Carrión (it doesn't hurt we went to the same college :) ). I also got a chance to talk to other executives and the actual developers, programmers, and testers. Even the employees who initially conducted the market research on user needs and design requirements were there. I really thought it was great to meet all these people and see them enjoy their new "baby".

After the initial cocktail, Richard Carrión talked a little about the bank's history and showed some pictures from the 1950's when "Mobile Banking" meant something else. Back then, Banco Popular had vans (similar to those shown) that would go from town to town and people would line up to do their transactions. I had no idea that's how it was done back in the day!!

The story continued with the 80's when the bank introduced ATM's. In the 90's they introduced PC Banking (via dial-up modems) and in 2000 their internet banking site, which ran on top of the same infrastructure that was created for PC Banking! In 2002, they started a project to modernize their infrastructure and provide real-time transaction information.

Finally, today, the bank has a new look-n-feel. And another new feature is an e-account which you can open online without ever going into one of the branches. They also showed their new TV ad. At the end of the presentation, they opened up 6-7 MacBook's and encouraged people to go out and try the new site.

I tried the new site and even tried to open a new e-account (to see if it was really as easy as they said). To my surprise it was, though I'm an existing customer. I counted a total of 6 clicks to open an e-account. Simple. Easy. Congrats to the whole team! It was great to meet you all and hopefully the rest of the banks will follow suit.

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