Changing the Perception of a Credit Union

When is a bank not a bank? When it’s a credit union, of course. Huh? Exactly. Turns out that when asked, even our client’s members had a hard time articulating the difference between a regular bank and Suncoast Credit Union.


We knew if we could help people understand just what makes a credit union different from a bank, we could help make a difference for our client. Doing this through an improved online presence could help the credit union both expand its membership and continue to help people in the areas it serves.

As the largest credit union in Florida, Suncoast has a prominent local presence. Because it is owned by members instead of shareholders, profits are returned to members, allowing loan rates and fees to stay low — while savings rates stay high. As a generous supporter of local schools and communities, Suncoast has a great philanthropic story to tell, too.



Our team spent 2 days interviewing members, managers and staff at different branches around Tampa. We met members who had left big banks and loyal members who just believed in supporting the community. The takeaway from all our research was that Suncoast is a likeable, trusted brand. Unfortunately, their website just didn’t reflect that either in look and feel or in functionality.

Banking On the Brand

In order to tell the full Suncoast story, the new site would need to incorporate the top brand characteristics in ways that felt natural. We created a set of experience concepts that each focused on a different brand attribute.

Personal & Familiar

Trusted & Transparent

This simple, straightforward brand has an advantage over the big guys, who lost credibility in the banking crisis.

Local with an emphasis on Community

From the open, airy design, to the use of images of real members and employees, the new site brings the Suncoast philosophy to life. It’s a simple and social experience with a friendly tone, but also highly transactional.

Interesting stats and animated infographics demonstrate how Suncoast provides better options and services than banks with profits serving the community, not CEOs.
The layer cake interaction model lets content modules unfold as the user scrolls down the page, with marketing-driven layers interspersed with conversion and product features. This model allows for easy skimming, as well as flexibility for evolving site features and content priorities over time.
On the back end, this SiteCore build allows both Suncoast’s IT and Marketing teams to make updates easily with both form-based and WYSIWYG interfaces.


Within just a few months, visitor membership inquiries were up 400% to over 20,000 and 10,000 visitors researched multiple related products.