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Matthieu JOLLY
3 minutes

To relax, don't hesitate to enter your bank branch

Although it draws its source from the Internet, the digital bank Virgin Money has fastened on the idea of surprising its customers by creating a bank branch format: the lounge.

The concept

Le concept

With the rise in digital technology, conventional banks are confronted with declining attendance in their networks of bricks-and-mortar branches. Like Santander in Spain, Société Générale in France or HSBC in the United-Kingdom… announcements of branch closures have followed one another in recent years. While the Internet is regularly blamed, you yourself have noted that the opening hours of your bank branch often don’t match hours when you are available.

At the same time, online banks are doing the opposite and opening new types of branches. In the United States you can go to one of the eleven Capital One 360° cafés, whether or not you are a customer of the bank. In the United-Kingdom, Virgin Money invites you into one of its lounges.

Since the first opening in Manchester in 2012, the English bank has opened 6 additional spaces. Accessible to the bank’s customers, these living environments are at your disposal and welcome you for as long as you want to stay.

Modelled on the “business” lounges of airlines, you can find a whole range of freely available services: WiFi, power sockets, tablets, refreshments, piano, magazines, play area for children or a television showing the news… Everything is done to make you feel at home.

Moreover you can use part of the lounge as a private space to hold a working meeting or a local event: piano concert, Wimbledon broadcast, your bridge club meeting… The branch thus fits in with the life of your neighbourhood and becomes a meeting place.

And what’s in it for the bank? Stewards and hostesses are at your disposal if you have any questions about your bank account.

By going to one of the Virgin Money Lounges, you will quickly understand: they bear no relation to the typical impersonal spaces found in traditional banks. If you are afraid of online banks or only Internet services, these meeting places will reassure you and reconcile you with your bank and banking advisor.

Which goes to show that the bricks-and-mortar store is indeed at the cutting edge of evolving business and customer relations.

To do during the visit

Meet Richard Branson

When you walk past the Virgin Money Lounge in Haymarket in London, don’t be surprised: Richard Branson will call out to you in person. He will invite you to enter or, if you are a fan, take a selfie with him.

Ask your questions

While the lounge is not a traditional branch, Virgin Money is still a bank. You can chat with the staff and make an appointment in one of the small lounges to ask your questions about your bank account.


Piano, magazines and television are just some of the services at your disposal to help you relax when you enter the lounge. Take your time and sit down on one of the armchairs in the business cabin of Virgin Atlantic.

Drop off your children

If you have an appointment with a customer advisor and you come with your children, do not hesitate to drop them off in the area set aside for them. If they are not keen on reading and colouring, they are bound to enjoy the video games console.

A private space

The lounge is an open-plan living space. You can make it private to invite customers, organize a charity fund-raising campaign, etc. When you walk into a lounge, you will inevitably meet regular visitors, executives or pensioners who are using the space on a daily basis.

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Matthieu JOLLY
Facing with the changes in retail, today's innovations help Matthew to think about tomorrow's relationship between the brand and the consumer.
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