Alawwal Bank’s next stop is a coffee shop
Across the world, branches are disappearing or even getting smaller, but Alawwal Bank, with the help of financial services IT consultancy Synechron, has opened a new digital branch in Saudi Arabia in the form of a coffee shop.
The Ibda café is located in the Nakheel mall in Riyadh. The bank says customers can open an account and get an instant credit card, in under seven minutes, whilst “enjoying a cappuccino and croissant” from its partner Costa Coffee.
Sami Al-Rowaithy, head of marketing, e-business and digital channels management, Alawwal Bank, says its new branch is “not about replacing staff with machines but rather using lifestyle interaction to help customers and staff engage more deeply – all in a digitally enabled experience”.
When customers enter the café, they are met by interactive screens which offer more information on the branch’s functionality, research products and services, open an account or credit card, or even play games.
Alawaal, which means “The First” in Arabic, was founded in 1926. It changed its name last year, when it was previously called the Saudi Hollandi Bank.