It is often mused ‘What if Google ran a bank?’ and this has been covered at length by journalist Jeff Jarvis in his book ‘What would Google do?‘ as well as by others such as Brett King. The concept of a Google bank got me thinking what if a whole host of our favourite brands ran banks? What would they look like? What would they bring to the market? Would I bank with them? Here are just a few that I have thought about.
The Big Mac Bank – McDonalds the biggest owner of potential bank branches in the world would be an interesting bank owner. They are renowned for selling the exact same delicious and nutritious products the world over. If you step into a Micky Ds in London you can get the same Big Mac that you would do if you stepped in to a Micky Ds in Rio De Janeiro. Could they bring the same approach to banking? Drive thru loans? a truly global experience that is the same the world over?
The Just Do It Bank – The worlds biggest sportswear manufacturer could bring something a bit different to the banking arena. With their recent branching out into the gaming arena via Nike+ they could certainly link financial fitness with real world fitness. Just imagine the stars they could get to appear in their banking adverts? The Brazil football team alone could create such awareness of the bank in their home nation that the established banks in the market would be terrified.
The Bank of Jobs – The one that most people mention on a day to day basis, what if Apple ran a bank? I guess that millions of people would love to have bank designed by the God of black turtleneck sweaters and shiny objects of desire, Steve Jobs. They enthuse ‘It would be great, just imagine how easy it would be to access? Imagine how stylish it would be? A banking genius bar would be amazing!’ What they don’t consider is how horribly locked down it would all be e.g. the bank can only be accessed via Apple products, they would overcharge for their products and their customers would be horribly smug (Can you tell I have issues with Apple?)
The Bookstore Bank – Amazon are probably the greatest online retailer in the world. They sell almost everything and have made scarcity a thing of the past. What would the long tail of banking look like? Millions of financial products to suit every financial whim? Huge numbers of customer reviews ranking and rating each product? Couple that with one of the most advanced CRM systems in the world, ‘58% of customers who looked at his mortgage bought this one, they also considered these’ and you have a very interesting model for selling banking products…but would that make them a bank?
Facebank – So what if the worlds biggest social network, with its 500 million users, decided to start a global bank. They have recently introduced a form of currency, Facebook Credits which gives them their own money. If they could build an online banking service as easy to use and as addictive as the game Farmville (which currently has 81 million players on Facebook and is now using Facebook credits to allow you to buy virtual goods) then they really could become the biggest bank in the world. I personally think this one is the most realistic of all and I am not the only one.
The Supermarket Bank – I have already covered this using the most dominant supermarket in the UK, Tesco, as an example in an earlier post that you can find here.
The RyanBank – Chris Skinner recently wrote about what if RyanAir created a bank. I think we can imagine what it would be like (Stag and Hen loan products/insurance spring to mind) but I will let you read Chris’ thoughts on how he thinks it would operate.
As social and open source technologies become increasingly prevalent in society it seems inevitable that some day soon a full banking suite of products could be created and given away for free meaning that anyone could run a bank. There maybe a few pesky regulations to get around but their are ways and means around those, virtual currencies anyone? So which brands would you like to see run banks? What unique selling points and services would they bring to the banking sector? What about the ones mentioned above how can you imagine them operating and would you bank with them?
The image used is from this post here
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