As online transactions take off, banks are increasingly giving themselves cool makeovers to make the best use of their brick-and-mortar outlets. With looks ranging from an upscale living room to a cafe that can give any respectable coffee spot a run for its money, these branches have transformed into comfy-looking spaces that entice younger customers to walk in, relax and hang out.
This branch at Plaza Singapura calls itself a “lifestyle space for the tech generation”. Customers get digital banking services like a virtual reality corner for retirement planning, and 24-hour assistance via video call for services like replacing debit cards. There’s also a robot that assists customers how to use the new technologies, art exhibitions, and monthly latte art classes.
Umpqua Bank, US
Every branch in this bank is designed to incorporate elements of the city’s history in the form of decorations, decals or lettering. They also have lounge areas with cafe-style seats, a drinks counter, free-for-use laptops, a children’s play area, and a small library of magazines and papers for browsing. In fact, some branches hope to act as a secondary office space or meeting space to save anyone sick of working in their cubicle.
Virgin Money, UK
Under the same parent as its namesake airline, branches under this financial services brand are dubbed “lounges”, and boast a truly impressive lineup of services for customers – like free food and drinks, iPads, kids’ areas, TVs, a grand piano, a bowling alley and a cinema. One lounge is even designed to look like an airplane cabin.
Customers are encouraged to use the place to relax and even hold casual business meetings. They’re also events like book launches and music recitals held there.
In this branch, bank services are written on blackboards. Instead of headshots, casual pictures of employees and the bank manager enjoying various hobbies are hung up, and meeting rooms are open spaces with casual seating.
Capital One, US
- Tanza Loudenback/Business Insider
This US bank has opened a string of branches, called “cafes”, which they promise are “nice places to hang out”. Meant to act as co-working spaces, there’s Wi-Fi, coffee and pastries (at a price), charging ports and comfortable seats. There’re also iPads for customers to learn about finance, free coaching sessions by experts on how to manage money, and Amazon Alexa devices set up to answer questions on finance.
Sugamo Shinkin, Japan
The various branches of this credit union all have a rainbow motif, featuring colourful exteriors and furniture. It also includes relaxing features like gardens, a cafeteria, and transparent light tubes. The design hopes to make customers feel happy when going to the bank, encourage them to stay and relax inside the branches for longer, and return soon.
This branch wants to act like the town square for a tight community. Designed to mimic a communal space, customers are greeted once they enter. There’s a coffee bar in the corner, diner booths, and a set of bleachers built from reclaimed timber that also act as seating for music sessions and seminars once evening comes.
This bank in Zurich pays great attention to combining architecture and art. The Wollishofen branch uses wood, steel and rubber and is built to look like a ship, as a nod to the district’s shipyard heritage.