Bank Pushes Alternative Channels with Ultra-Sleek iBank Store

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.


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.

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

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

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