• JM

North Americas Top 10 Banking Website Performance Benchmark

Speed is ruling the world. Time to market and how fast a website loads on any device is getting more critical, especially for the tech-savvy customers of tomorrow.

Performance is user experience. We all know that every second counts because consumers have various options, and there is no need to wait for a not responsive or slow-loading website. Most of the time, the competition is just a click away.


In recent years, financial organizations started their digital transformation to serve new business models, cut operational costs, and provide a better user experience. Therefore, we were curious about the state of the Top 10 Banking websites in North America and conducted a detailed performance benchmark amongst these players.

Research Questions


  • How does a web performance benchmark of the Top 10 North American Banks look like?

  • How many are impacted by performance issues?

  • What are their top performance challenges?


Benchmarking Approach

  • Synthetic monitoring of their websites during 30 days

  • Test execution every 60 minutes from 3 locations

  • Used Dynatrace Synthetic Monitoring

Sample Monitoring Script



{
	"version": "1.0",
	"requests": [
		{
			"description": "rbc.com",
			"url": "https://www.rbc.com",
			"method": "GET",
			"validation": {
				"rules": [
					{
						"value": ">=400",
						"passIfFound": false,
						"type": "httpStatusesList"
					}
				],
				"rulesChaining": "or"
			},
			"configuration": {
				"acceptAnyCertificate": true,
				"followRedirects": true
			}
		}
	]
}

We've executed our monitoring scripts once every 60 minutes during 30 days on the following locations


  • Chicago

  • Las Vegas

  • Los Angeles


There are no industry performance benchmarks for banking websites available, so we must develop a meaningful approach. In addition, we won't have access to all the backend systems, limiting our performance check to the front-end layer. We also know that hundreds of devices and browsers are in use, and customers are connected using all kinds of network speed and geographical connections.


To reduce the complexity on the one hand and create a meaningful comparison, on the other hand, we decided to use a SaaS-based synthetic monitoring approach. We use the start page web URL of the top 10 banking websites and execute them every 60 minutes on three monitoring locations.


Many factors impact website speed

Page load time is a very prominent example and indicates how fast a request or a web page is getting loaded in a Browser.


The metric Time to first byte indicates the performance of a web sites backend systems. The longer it takes to deliver the first byte back to an end-user or their device, the slower the entire page load time.


And finally, we decided to check also the amount of data downloaded by the banking websites. Page Size expresses how much data gets transferred to a customer by accessing the website.


This list of performance benchmarking metrics could include several more. However, to avoid unnecessary complexity, we decided to skip the remaining and use Page Size, Time to first byte, and Page load time for our performance comparison.


How to compare these metrics?

After reviewing different approaches, we decided to use the average page size, time to first byte, and page load time for each bank during the 30 day monitoring period. We've normalized these results and expressed the average values as percentages to make our comparison more meaningful.

Sample calculation


Average response times


Bank 1: 5 sec page load time

Bank 2: 5 sec page load time

Bank 3: 10 sec page load time


Benchmark calculation


Bank 1: 100 / summary (Bank1, Bank 2, Bank3) * 5 = 25 %

Bank 2: 100 / summary (Bank1, Bank 2, Bank3) * 5 = 25 %

Bank 3: 100 / summary (Bank1, Bank 2, Bank3) * 10 = 50 %

Plage load time Benchmark: (25 + 25 + 50 / 3) = 33 %


Results


Page load times of Bank 1 and Bank 2 are better than the Benchmark.

Page load times of Bank 3 is 17 % above the Benchmark.


The results of our Banking Website Performance Benchmark

Our performance comparison demonstrated that 40 percent of the banking websites are facing performance problems.




Many factors impact page load time. For example, in our performance benchmark, we figured out that 30 % of the banking websites suffer from higher page load times.


Another prominent issue is a high average value in time to first byte, which indicates slow backends. The time to first byte of a banking website is a performance issue for 20 percent of the compared bankings, and for one of the banks, this metric was 25 percent higher than their competitors.


Twenty percent of the banking websites are facing problems due to high page size. As a result, customers navigating their websites have to download up to 18 percent more data, resulting in massive performance slowdowns. Low network speed can make such not optimized web page size an even more critical issue.


Conclusion

A not neglect able proportion of the Top 10 banking websites in North America are facing performance problems. We know that the battle for a best-in-class user experience is still ongoing in the financial service industry. Beautiful design and responsive and fast-loading banking websites are essential these days because tech-savvy customers of tomorrow expect both.


Compare your banking website regularly with your competitors sites and make modern continuous performance engineering a fundamental part of your value stream.

Keep doing the great work! Happy Performance Engineering!