mBank: the world’s first mobile social bank within a bank

I mentioned that BRE Bank is dropping their branding later this year and replacing it with mBank, the brand they launched last decade to support their online activities.

What is this all about?

Here’s an analysis.

BRE Bank launched in the 1980s as a division of Commerzbank, and is Poland’s fourth largest bank.

In 2000, with the rise of the internet, BRE Bank launched mBank, a pure-play online bank.  As an internet-only bank, it has risen rapidly to become Poland’s biggest online bank and its third largest retail bank.  Thanks to its success, mBank expanded into neighbouring markets in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2007.

In 2012, the bank realised that there were significant changes taking place in the banking markets due to the use of mobile social media, and decided to redesign the bank from scratch based upon four key tenets:

  • Real-time marketing;
  • Personal Financial Management;
  • Mobile banking; and
  • Social media.

This was not a lightly made decision, as it involved a $31 million investment and a complete redesign of the bank, which launched just before our last Financial Services Club meeting in Warsaw earlier this month.

In fact, it is not a lightweight decision at all, as it has resulted in the bank dumping its original name and brand, BRE Bank, and replacing the whole thing with the mBank focus and brand, with a new logo and refreshed look and feel. 

MBank

This all took just fourteen months to happen with the transactional service built from scratch by a team of 200 bank staff in collaboration with partners including Accenture, Artegence and Meniga whilst the website, mBank.pl, is the main communication vehicle of the new brand and this was designed and developed by Artegence and Intercon Systems.

The new service offers over 200 new functions and improvements. In addition to design, these include a smart transaction search engine which makes a search through your transaction history as easy as using google on the internet, with results displayed in real time:

MBank tx search

Money transfers via SMS and Facebook, where customers need not remember or ask for account numbers and can use phone numbers or social network connections instead:

MBank - tx FB

Facebook transfers appear on the landing page for the users of the social media services, and are just messages sent with cash attached:

MBank - tx FB2

Personal finance management (PFM), facilitating management of budgets where the system clearly explains when money was spent and what for, and presents a forecast of overall spending by the end of the month:

MBank PFM

An on-line expert available 24/7 via a video or voice connection and chat:

MBank vidbank

And gamification in the bank’s transactional service to encourage smart spending and saving:

MBank - gamification

It’s already won awards (Finovate Europe Best in Show) and a lot of press coverage. 

No wonder, as it’s the first bank invented mobile social solution I’ve seen that even comes close to delivering the new retail reality.

Related banks are Moven, Fidor and Simple, but these are new startups rather than bank invented, and so well done to Michal Panowicz and his team for creating one of the world’s first mobile social banks within a bank.

Here's the full slide deck from the launch with more links for those interested: