Dubai welcomes coffee shop bank

Saudi Arabia’s Alawwal Bank has unveiled a new digital bank in the form of a coffee branch in the United Arab Emirates.

Alawwal Bank is citing its intention to set a global benchmark for digital banking, introducing a new digital customer experience by redefining of the traditional distribution model for a new digital branch, which takes the form of a ‘coffee shop bank.’

The café, Café Ibda, would allow customers to open bank accounts, sign up for credit cards and do basic banking whilst have coffee, and was launched in conjunction with the bank’s innovation partner, Synechron Inc.

Bank Alawwal head of marketing, e-business and digital channels management, Sami Al’Rowaithy, said customer satisfaction would be high, and savings goals would be met.

“By combining a coffee shop with digitised banking solutions, we solve so many problems across the traditional distribution model from lowering operating costs to customer engagement to providing valued advisory services whilst still delivering instant onboarding,” he said.

“Our Ibda 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.”

The café would also feature interactive screens to explain the functionalities of the branch, research the bank’s products and offerings, access accounts, and play games.

 Synechron managing director of innovation, David Horton, said the success of the offering had relied on the development of a suitable physical space, as well as ongoing evaluations.

“We were able to work with the bank’s leadership to set the vision, to build and design everything from a new cutting-edge interior design and fit-out, to a range of digital interactive experiences that will propel the bank as a leader in digital innovation,” Horton said.

“The Ibda branch is inevitably going to set the bank apart from its competitors, and I have no doubt will establish a new precedent in bank branches.”




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