Bank Pushes Alternative Channels with Ultra-Sleek iBank Store

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Founded in 1841, The National Bank of Greece isn’t the kind of brand you can reinvent overnight. To help Greeks see the 170-year old financial institution in a new light, the bank created i-bank, a subbrand for its online, mobile and phone banking solutions.

Now, in an effort to raise awareness of i-bank and its suite of alternative delivery services, the National Bank of Greece created a sleek and stylish concept store. Don’t be fooled: with no tellers and no cash, this is definitely not a branch. It’s more like ING’s Cafés, designed to generate awareness of the brand. The i-bank is, in essence, a giant, real-life marketing tool — much like an ad or billboard for the bank’s online/self-service channel.

National Bank of Greece chose allen international and interactive partner Beaver Group to design this multi-purpose electronic banking environment. The space uses any orgy of digital technologies to attract new customers, while promoting- and teaching the use internet, mobile and phone banking services.

The solution is described as a virtual “digital gateway” to the i-bank brand, an architectural metaphor starting with the store’s unique entry portal. Retailers usually let customers see what’s inside, but the i-bank unusual façade intrigues passersby.

“A striking architectural split was created between the left and right sides of the branch and digital touch points are built into a seamless black glass wall which guide the customer in from the entrance portal,” explains allen international.

Those entering the store are greeted by bright, LED rear-illuminated graphics wrapping the vestibule 360°. Images are projected from the ceiling down onto the entry floor to give customers a visual perk.

“Internet pods” create relaxed private booths for up to two people who can explore the bank’s digital, self-service solutions. Customers can carry out daily banking functions through video chats with remote service specialists.

At the rear is the ‘i-lounge’ with its living vertical garden, creating a quiet zone for customers to enjoy refreshments or hold social meetings.

Customers can also participate in educational workshops, watch presentations, use video conferencing and tap the bank’s free WiFi. Also, a free i-bank store club card gives members access to sweepstakes, discounts and invitations to various events planned for the branch.

The architects at allen international say the i-bank is “a place of entertainment, training and an exchange of views on technology, modern banking services and the environment.”

“i-bank is a technologically innovative, ecologically responsible and customer-friendly space that changes peoples’ perceptions of a bank,” adds Michael Allen, Chairman of Allen International.

The i-bank store located on the first floor of The Mall Athens in the Maroussi area of Greece. The location is open Monday through Friday 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm.

In 2011, two more i-bank stores will open their doors.

The bank has a lot more information about its i-bank concept including a press release and presentations that look to be replete with good information, but it’s hard to say since it’s all Greek to me.



I-BANK VIDEO TOUR

Watch these two short videos (video 1, video 2) about the i-bank store and you may forget it has anything to do with financial services — more like a cross between a disco and a swanky spa/hair salon.




I-BANK DIGITAL CONTENT
Working with Allen International, Beaver Group produced some
truly eye-catching content design for the interior wall space.



I-BANK VERTICAL GARDEN
For the i-bank store, the folks at Vitaverde made what
is described as the first vertical garden in Greece.

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