Ambank wooing customers back to branches with coffee

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 March 2023: 

Years after complaining the high cost of maintaining branches to serve customers – having introduced ATMs, dispensing with cheques and more – the real threat of e-wallets and online payment options have made banks realise the value of having customers back at their premises.

A recent example is that of AmBank, which today unveiled its new concept of ‘community banking’ in collaboration with Bask Bear Coffee in three of its branches in the Klang Valley, Penang and Kedah – where customers get to enjoy the best of both worlds of a café-in-a-bank experience as they bank in a café.

In a statement, Ambank said this unique integration of these two experiences provides an opportunity for the bank to drive relationship banking to new heights by growing closer to the community while positioning Bask Bear Coffee as the leading coffee brand that has disrupted and innovated the café market with handcrafted coffees, signature toasties and artisanal meals.

Bryan Loo, founder and chief executive officer of Loob Holding Sdn Bhd – which owns the brand, described this unique collaboration as “an evolution whose time has come”.

“This maiden joint-effort with our leading bank partner is truly from the core of our brand DNA as Bask Bear Coffee is always about ‘Being Bold, Being Brave’. As far as we know, this is the first such concept where a cosy café intertwines with a dynamic functioning bank branch.”

This concept has both brands existing side by side in adjoining lots, yet they are integrated where it matters – customer experience, customer choice and functionality.

Bask Bear customers can have full access to AmBank’s suite of banking and financial services while AmBank customers can enjoy the café ambience complete with Bask Bear Coffee’s barista hand-crafted coffees, signature toasties and light meals.

Aaron Loo, managing director or retail banking at AmBank (M) Bhd, said: “We are working towards redefining the customer experience at our branches starting with community banking. Our pilot of this concept has yielded positive outcomes with higher customer footfall and stronger customer engagement with the branch.

“With AmOnline being able to handle most transactional needs, we needed to ensure that customers who come to the branch enjoy a differentiated experience. We will be continuing to innovate our branch network by working with partners to create a differentiated experience based on the needs of the community that the branch serves.”

Today’s official rollout took place at Bandar Baru Bangi in Selangor, Sungai Dua in Penang and Lagenda Heights in Sungai Petani, Kedah. These branches which had their soft opening recently, have seen good response from the business community and the café crowd in these areas.

Bryan Loo explained this was an idea whose time has come, as convenience used to only relate to the digital realm.

“Now, convenience is extended to the entire experience. Customers can order online and come in for their drinks and food while they do their banking. Conversely, banking customers can perform their banking transactions online and then drop by the branch for a personalised consultation while enjoying the Bask Bear Coffee ambience.”

He is confident this fruitful collaboration would benefit both brands as well as their customers. “We look forward to this continued collaboration with AmBank and will jointly explore other locations.

“Moving forward, we believe there will be even greater integration as banking services converge with lifestyle retail choices. Our brands have to stay relevant to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers.”

To celebrate the launch and collaboration, 10 lucky winners will be selected to receive a complimentary cup of coffee a day for 365 days. This campaign will run from today to 8 June 2023 and is opened to customers who successfully perform recognised banking transactions or fulfil the requirements at any of these three community banking locations.

This is on top of the AmBank and Bask Bear Coffee joint promotion of RM5 per 9oz cup of hot Americano or Latte for walk-in purchases with AmBank Credit Card or Debit Card. Offers are valid from now until 31 December 2023.