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Idea Bank says turning branches into office space for SMBs has proved too popular

27 September 2016  |  4993 views  |  0 Idea Hub brank branch

Idea Bank, a Polish lender focussed on small businesses, is boasting that the free office facilities that it provides entrepreneurs have proved so popular that it is being forced to close them to non-customers.

With branches becoming increasingly irrelevant in a mobile age, last year the bank began refreshing some of its sites, offering firms free access to co-working space, conference rooms, Wi-Fi, office facilities and beverages.

The plan took hold, a survey of 230 clients shows, with only a fifth of visitors using Idea Hubs the same way they would a typical bank branch. The remaining 81% consider them a place to work, conduct business meetings, attend workshops and training sessions, or engage in networking activities.

And visitors tend to be regulars, with 40% of respondents using the hubs at least once a week, drinking more than 55,000 cups of coffee between them.

With non-account holders free to use some of the facilities, the hubs have become a little crowded, prompting clients unable to find space to ask the bank to reconsider its open door policy.

Dominik Fajbusiewicz, board member, Idea Bank, says: "We offer a lot at no charge. We want the Hubs to be an added value, our clients’ prerogative."

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