In a bid to futureproof against disruptive challenger brands, Scottish bank Clydesdale has opened a wow-factor hybrid space in London featuring an interactive fintech expo, a working innovation lab and a conventional bank branch.
Located on Kensington High Street, Studio B follows the 2016 launch of Clydesdale’s money management app B. This offers ‘smart tagging’ to help budget control, categorising expenditure according to type and displaying the data as infographics. It also offers predictive saving; the app automatically transfers money into the user’s savings account when it registers a monthly underspend.
While it’s a fully functioning branch offering everyday services, there is also a test-and-learn facility showcasing Clydesdale’s latest technological innovations and digital banking solutions to encourage discourse between inventors and users (staff and the public). The feedback will be used to accelerate ideas already in the pipeline.
The spatial concept, by British design agency Four-by-Two, is aptly futuristic. B-shaped mirrors and digital screens adorn the entrance, displaying colourful op-art-inspired visuals. Inside, a central open-plan area features the lab space, where large white desks (which can be reconfigured to benches) hold tablets providing access to banking apps. There is also an Amazon Alexa smart speaker, demonstrating voice-activated banking.
Private consultation rooms, a café and ATMs are arranged in a circular pattern around the central open zone, which is used to host events focused on “empowering customers to take control of their finances”. For instance, this month’s panel discussion is called Behavioural Change & Habits: Can We Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?