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Face to face format for Austrian bank BAWAG

BAWAG P.S.K., the fourth largest bank in Austria, has opened a pilot branch in the town of Mödling to test a new concept designed by I-AM.

The change was necessitated by the end of an agreement with Austrian logistics and postal services provider Post, which means that BAWAG will need to redefine the use of space in most of its branches by the end of 2019 – 12 months earlier than originally planned.

I-AM has developed a strategy to remodel the entire network, refitting up to a hundred branches with the objective of offering best-in-class financial advice and comprehensive banking expertise. The agency consulted bank customers, and staff both at branch and head office level to create ‘the branch network of the future’.

The project has sought to address the everyday needs of the banks 2.5m customers, and to improve the integration of online services. It is also seeking to create a point of difference in a crowded market, while creating a welcoming environment to strengthen relationships with customers.

The result is known as the ‘Distinctly BAWAG P.S.K.’ concept. It provides a flexible branch design to use across three basic formats: Flagship, Advice Centre, and Kiosk, each fitting with the bank’s ‘unmistakably Austrian’ brand values.

The first unit to be redeveloped in the Mödling Advice Centre branch. It features an impactful welcome desk, surrounded by a timber pergola and planting, and flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes. A table, big enough for eight people, can be used for group meetings and tutorial sessions. Digital services are integrated throughout the space.

“I think this new agile approach to branch design will help them move ahead of their competition over the coming years,” says I-AM managing director Jon Blakeney. “The new Advice Centres that we have created will put the focus back where customers really want it, not on fancy in-branch technology but on great face-to-face advice and learning about how to get the best from digital banking.”