Polish mid-size lender Idea Bank is to open a new bank branch staffed by trained baristas as it bids to entice small business owners away from local coffee shops with the aroma of freshly-brewed beverages, free office work space and bookable conference rooms.
Most of the space available at the new Idea Hub has been dedicated to entrepreneurs, featuring co-working areas, conference facilities and training rooms It also promises free coffee, access to printers, scanners and copiers and unlimited wi-fi.
The bank says it wants to attract sole proprietors who lack a permanent office and work remotely from overcrowded town-centre coffee shops, where they also meet with their clients and contractors. They do not consider using the paid co-working centres, usually located on the outskirts of the city, an interesting alternative.
Dominik Fajbusiewicz, Idea Bank board member, says the concept stands in opposition to the current global trend of turning the emptying bank branches into hi-tech outletss, crammed with electronics, located in shopping malls, and usually just doubling tools already available on mobile devices.
"I think the only functionalities that may encourage customers to actually visit a branch are those you cannot offer virtually," he says.
According to research carried out by Idea Bank, 32% of micro-companies only accept cash transactions, while the remaining 68% combine cash with other kinds of transactions. A survey conducted by PwC and Impactor shows that 66% of SME owners visit their bank at least once a month.
The first idea Hub has already been opened in central Warsaw. it will be followed by a larger space in the capital and roll-outs to other major cities.