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New ‘Café Banks’ Will Lack Tellers, But Will Have Spaces to Eat, Work, and Free Wi-Fi

They look to cater to younger Argentines, who increasingly use online banking.

By | [email protected] | August 10, 2018 2:17pm

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Across the world, a series of tech-savvy banks have opened. Catering to the tastes of young millennials, they have free Wi-Fi, cafés, and complimentary expert-led financial coaching. Now, Argentine banks have expressed interest in going down the same road.

According to reporting by Martín Grosz, of Clarín, Argentina’s first “café banks”—which will lack bank tellers but will include spaces to eat, work, and use the free Wi-Fi—will be opened by Banco Galicia in the coming weeks.

The banks look to recruit younger clients, who, everyday use less cash and are progressively moving toward electronic banking and money transfers. To make the experience of going to the bank seem like less of a “punishment” or chore for the younger generations, the new chain of tech-savvy establishments will no longer have waiting areas where use of technology is prohibited. Instead, they will be “internet friendly,” and will remain open well past 3 PM, when banks in Argentina close.

Without any actual bank tellers, the branches will instead include ATMs and self-service machines, as well as PCs and tablets through which customers can handle home banking tasks. Bank employees will be available to give financial advice and offer patrons other services, such as loans, insurance, and opening new accounts. Talks and workshops on a number of different topics will also be regularly offered.

All of this will take place in sleek, modern spaces with plush “living room” aesthetics. Here, people will be able to make transactions, work, or just relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy the free Internet—whether they’re Banco Galicia clients or not.

Banco Galicia’s new banking style, via Clarín

Argentina’s Central Bank (BCRA) approved the concept— which is increasingly becoming a trend around the world— in February. Now, Banco Galicia is only a few weeks away from opening the first chain of “café banks” in Argentina.

“In September, we will open the first of the chain in Capital Federal, alongside an important coffee brand that is currently expanding within the country and around the world,” the Branch Manager, Diego Baccini, told Clarín’s Martín Grosz.

“There, the client will find a pleasant environment, drink high-quality coffee, and be able to request information, training and advice on any financial service,” he said. While the bank’s services will be open to everyone, those who pay with Banco Galicia debit cards will receive a 15 percent discount.

While the bank Santander Río already has a number of  “digital banking offices” in Barrio Norte and Belgrano, they announced that they would also open similar “work/café/bank” chains before the end of the year. HSBC, ICBC, Banco Macro, Banco Comafi, Banco La Nación, and Banco Ciudad have also expressed similar plans.