Perchè una Banca Online dovrebbe avere filiali fisiche ? (CheBanca! case study)

AICEX : Interessante connubio tra Virtuale e Reale

Why would a digital bank have branches? (CheBanca! case study) – by Chris Skinner

I just visited with Roberto Ferrari at CheBanca! in Italy.  For those who don’t know CheBanca!, it is the digital first bank launched in 2008 by Mediobanca.  Mediobanca provides merchant bank services in Italy and had never had a retail bank before.  Therefore, it made sense in the post-meltdown digital age to implement a fintech bank fit for Italy, andCheBanca! claims to be that bank.  You can find out more here.

Anyways, being a digital first bank does not mean being a digital only bank, and Roberto took great pride in showing me his branch.


I know, it doesn’t look like much, but wait till you get inside

A digital bank with a branch?  Yep.  CheBanca! has launched almost 50 of them so far, with more to follow.  This has proven critical in getting trust and deposits, with the main aim of achieving three things that digital only does not achieve:

  1. Trust
  2. Brand
  3. Service

These three things are harder to achieve when you are unseen, unproven and unknown, although some are bound to disagree.  However, Roberto and his team gave me some interesting statistics that may back up this claim.

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Non puoi automatizzare un servizio eccellente

E’ possibile togliere del tutto il contatto umano ed automatizzare tutti i servizi?

I am a great fan of online banking. It is convenient, simple and gives me control to do my banking without the need to visit a bank branch. It works for nearly 90% of all of the banking activity. There are rare times that it is necessary to visit my branch to complete a transaction. These are the times when I need to have a one to one interaction with a real person.

I was interested to read the story in a recent issue of the  Galway City Tribune about Bank of Ireland’s latest innovation at their Mainguard Street branch.  ( ). The ground floor of this branch will become in the bank’s language “a digital branch” with all of the transactions digitised. Their statement that all of the familiar faces will be available upstairs to deliver business as usual fails to mention that lodging or withdrawing cash is no longer one of the services available. To lodge or withdraw you need to go to a different bank branch.

BOI Mainguard St crop


My own bank has adopted a different approach. The branch remains open until 5pm as heretofore but closes the counter services at 3pm. This is done by pulling down a counter blind with a message telling customers that the counter is closed and that they must use the machines only. This bank is currently running an advertising campaign with the tag line “back to basics”.

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