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5 Banks that Embraced Coworking

by | Sep 15, 2015 | Business, Real Estate | 0 comments

Inspired by the coworking movement, corporations around the world have started to break down their cubical walls and replace them with open-plan workspaces in order to ease both their business and employees into the workplace of the future.

Yet, there are still some types of enterprise that would seem to have a hard time redefining themselves, and one of those is the bank. The banking industry seems to be defined by the barriers set between the customer and the teller. A space that can be utilized only for business transactions and leaves little room for collaboration and change.

As we prepare for the upcoming Social Workplace conference, we set out to find how far coworking’s reach has extended and found that some banks are already adopting the model. We found 5 international banks that are reaping the benefits of coworking, whether it’s supporting an existing space or even opening their own.   

NAB, Australia

The Australian Financial Review recently wrote piece highlighting the convergence of banks and coworking spaces. This is not just good for employee well-being, but the growth also gives anyone with a real estate footprint the chance to cater to the market. The National Australia Bank has opened their own space, The Village, which has seen great success. For banks, the coworking and social workplace model, gives them the chance to use their space more efficiently and also attract new clients while satisfying the current ones.

St. George Bank, Australia

St. George Bank, owned by the Westpac Banking Corporation, opened their first space last year and has just recently opened a second one. Phillip Godkin explained in an article on AFR that the coworking model has created a sense of community amongst their small – businesses customer, which has been good for the bank overall. Their space, Business Hub, is committed to helping small businesses get their start and offers memberships to those who are both customers and non-customers.

BNP Paribas Fortis, Belgium 

Located in the center of Brussels, co. Station is home to a variety of young companies and business startersgeared to supporting fledgling digital enterprises at the growth stage – known as ‘scale-ups’ – which are in search of the right people with the right expertise to help them take the next step”. The space has forged a partnership with Belgian bank BNP Paribas Fortis, in order to offer the resources to innovative companies that will ensure their success in an increasingly social ecosystem.

KBC, Belgium 

In cooperation with BelCham, the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce, KBC bank opened a shared workspace in mid-town Manhattan, Atelier. The space caters to members who are looking to expand their business in the United States, and offers regular meetups that aim to help their coworkers to become acquainted with what’s happening in the European business world as well as in the US. Coworkers range from family offices, to Angel investors; VC’s and various selected members that focus on entrepreneurial projects.

Silicon Valley Bank, USA

The Silicon Valley Bank doesn’t have it’s own space but is part of the “urban core” strategy, which utilizes coworking spaces in order to become more approachable. In Austin, Texas, the bank moved from their office building to a location that puts them in close proximity to coworking spaces like WeWork.

As Silicon Valley Bank is dedicated to working with tech companies; being close to open workspaces allows them to have access to a pool of local entrepreneurs, which ultimately brings in new business.

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