A new experience in Swiss retail-banking

The Raiffeisenbank Sensetal is presenting its new, unique business model in Swiss retail-banking. Following a successful planning and construction phase the redeveloped bank branch in Flamatt has opened its doors to the public. The traditional bank hall has become a meeting-point for residents, customers and regional entrepreneurs. It hosts a bistro, lounge and pop-up store that can be used as multifunctional event space. The project was conceived and realised under the leadership of Bastian Hofacker, Project Manager at Swisswise, the concept development and consulting firm in Berne.

Personal contacts matter despite a move to digital

In a time of virtual experiences and artificial intelligence, the productivity of companies is increasing but interpersonal encounters are threatened to lose relevance. New solutions are needed to maintain personal service and customer proximity. This holds especially true in the retail-banking sector where the smartphone and ATM have largely replaced the traditional bank counter. However, the coming technological changes cannot be taken into account with structural measures alone.

Collaboration with Swisswise

The bank’s internal search for alternatives to the traditional model finally led to the cooperation with Bastian Hofacker, entrepreneur and owner of the Swisswise consulting office in Berne. From the outset, the design of the new operating concept was confronted with the difficulty of not only maintaining but also intensifying the bank’s personal contact with its customers, but also of taking account of the on-going developments in digitalisation of retail-banking and banking transactions at all levels. This challenge was brilliantly solved thanks to the innovative project approach and intensive collaboration between the bank management of Raiffeisenbank Sensetal and Bastian Hofacker from Swisswise. After countless brainstorming sessions, workshops and various project proposals as well as multiple rounds of negotiations the project gradually took shape.

A new meeting point, a new retail experience

The concept and content of the new Raiffeisen experience follows a completely new design approach for retail-banking: the transformation of the traditional counter hall into a meeting place for the local population, bank customers and bank staff.

Pop-up Space for entrepreneurs and artists

An essential component of this concept is the integration of a pop-up area. This serves as a platform for local and regional companies to present or sell their products and services to new customers. The bank, on the other hand, is able to offer a regularly changing programme that attracts attention and enables the desired contact with people. In addition to its continued use as a marketplace for small businesses, the sales and marketing platform also serves local institutions, individuals and artists as an exhibition and event space.

Quichet Bistro – high quality F&B

Another very important feature is the integration of a food and beverages offering in the form of a bistro with terrace and lounge called Quichet. The purpose-built brand supplies customers and guests with fresh and regional delicacies from morning till evening. The appealing, modern and cosy atmosphere invites people of all backgrounds to gather. All foods and beverages are locally sourced and thereby support the surrounding community

What about the regular retail-banking business? Of course, this also continues in this context. Much extended opening times from the usual 9 to 5 business hours often seen in the Swiss banking world. The new Raiffeisenbank Sensetal looks after its clients continuously from 7:00 to 19:00. The brief and initial consultation of new and existing clients takes place dynamically, freely in the room, while the scheduled consultations and discussions are held on the upper floors of the building at Bernstrasse 15 in Flamatt.

Unique new concept for retail-banking in Switzerland

In the planning and implementation phase, the overall project manager Bastian Hofacker also acted as coordinator and was significantly involved and responsible for strategic planning, concept development, bid orientation and purchasing policy as well as for budgeting, costing and controlling. In addition, there was close cooperation with the bank in communications and the initial planning and selection of pop-up events for the years 2019-20.

The new branch of Raiffeisenbank Sensetal offers a unique and diverse range of services, which will radiate far beyond the regional location of Flamatt. It is also an example of how sustainability can be created and lived in the banking world by engaging with its surroundings and helping local entrepreneurs grow their small businesses. In a market that is subject to constant change, the product range must grow continuously with the brand and be able to be adapted flexibly. The new bank branch is tailored to current conditions, trends and social issues and enables the individual market segments to be sustainably supported, local entrepreneurship to be promoted and a continuous interest in the Raiffeisen brand to be ensured.

Pioneer locally anchored: the new Raiffeisenbank Sensetal

Raiffeisenbank Sensetal in Flamatt is undoubtedly the bank branch of the future. The reaction of the public and the expected positive operating result will prove the initiators and builders right and inspire other Raiffeisen banks, but also competitors, to similar moods.

Tasks and responsibilities Swisswise

  • Research and Analysis

  • Workshops and Brainstormings

  • Operational Concept

  • Project Management

  • Management