Have you seen the new commercials from Capital One Bank? You know the one – where the nice-looking man knocks down the pillars of a “typical” bank to reveal one of the new, sexy, snazzy Capital One Bank Cafés? They’re such great commercials, don’t you think!
They cover so many great things about Capital One Bank all in one 30-second spot! No fees on checking and savings accounts, great savings rates, their beautiful new branch-cafés, and – AND – their mobile app where you can open an account from anywhere in just five minutes.
These commercials cover so much, I had to dig in a bit more. I started watching at videos of people going into actual Capital One Cafés and experiencing the locations. The first thing that popped into my head as a “customer” came through the door? Wait, was this person going into a Starbucks or a bank? The atmosphere of the front end of these cafés is so warm and appealing, it’s easy to mistake it for your local coffee shop.
But branches are meant to perform bank business, too, and the Cafés are no different. There is a business side to the branch behind the café front end. Only, I’m seriously curious what it’s all there for.
If you can open an account from anywhere in five minutes, as the commercials so proudly claim, I’m having a hard time understanding Capital One’s play and investment in these café branches. I get that they want to make dealing with finances more comfortable and less stressful to deal with. But is opening a coffee shop really going to accomplish that? I mean, it’s literally a coffee shop. With a little bit of banking on the back end.
And I can almost guarantee that the words “Hey, do you want to head over to the bank for a cup of coffee and a scone?” have not and will not come out of my mouth in my lifetime.
Which leads me to ask: if a bank prides itself on the short amount of time to open an account, alluding to the fact that we all have busy lives, why try and turn their branches into some sort of relaxing hangout where people don’t want to leave? There are two disassociations there that need to be fixed. One, the disassociation between “hurry up and get your banking done” and “please stay and hang out.” And, trying to commune banking with a relaxing hang-out environment.
At the end of the day, money is still money and finances will stress consumers out. No amount of gourmet coffee and pastries in your branches are going to change that.
What do you think of Capital One’s move? Would you try this with one of your branches?