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The Bank Branch of the Future Already in its Beginnings

Published: February 25, 2014; 11:37 · (Vindobona)

Since 2008 the branch network of banks in the Eurozone has been shrinking. Likewise, banks struggle for client contacts in order to increase the client base.

The Bank Branch of the Future Already in its Beginnings / Picture: © Erste Group

At this point the Austrian-based Erste Bank, which also covers Eastern European markets, tests a new concept for their branches in Vienna.

In fact, the financial crisis and societal changes caused a gradual decline in the number of customers and business. The new branch concept of Erste Bank should put things right, because it aims at enhancing the open approach to clients. For example, instead of a self-service area there is an open room where no desks are placed, as these are often viewed as a barrier. A bar and a children’s corner increase open encounter and personal contact. A bike-rack is provided for cyclists in the entrance area. A shiny wall with interactive screens – that do not provide financial news and information only – is striking.

It was found that banks record declining contacts at bank counters, because these tasks are nowadays typically performed by clients themselves. Therefore, this particular branch of Erste does not have any counters at all.

The general aim of this pilot concept of new branches is to get to know the clients personally and therefore learn what they need and require in certain situations. Erste Bank sets out for “more than just business”. Instead, it is about humans.