Piraeus Bank

Global success from a financial crisis

Piraeus asked us to create a long-term strategy for mobile banking that would encourage their customers to bank online instead of visiting branches. The first step was to conceptualize and develop a mobile banking app that could be easily adopted by a non-digital audience.

A country bouncing back

We arrived in Greece at a unique time for the banking sector, and indeed for the country as a whole. In 2015 the government had been forced to introduce capital controls meaning banks were closed and cash withdrawals were limited for all residents. Bankruptcy was commonplace and those who did have money were forced to queue for hours to withdraw a small weekly allowance in cash.

When Piraeus engaged us, the controls had been relaxed but the effects were still widespread. As well as an anxious customer base, many of the larger banks like Piraeus, had been forced to acquire smaller banks. Piraeus had acquired seven in total and was struggling with confused back-end systems and huge customer numbers in their branches.

They needed a coherent mobile strategy to begin relieving pressure from the branches but were struggling to meet customer demand day to day, let alone plan for the future.

An easy alternative needed

One clear aim influenced our thinking throughout this project – our digital solution had to be easier for a customer than going into a branch. How else would we change their behavior?

As a result we focused on building an app for people with little or no digital banking experience. To do this we made sure the customer never had to question anything – every step would be clear and instructional with little or no scrolling. Information would be reduced to its key elements and progress quick.

As part of the design we also aligned all the branding, creating a new look and feel for the app that reflected the Piraeus brand, but was completely new to the client. Luckily they loved it! The final stage was consumer testing. And again, we were positively surprised. Regardless of age or technical ability, everyone could complete simple operations such as transferring money and managing their accounts with little trouble. Now, less than one year after its launch, Piraeus has doubled the usage of mobile banking.

Part of team Piraeus

With testing complete we moved swiftly into development and in mid-2016 a team of six Fjordians arrived to spend a very enjoyable summer working onsite with the client in Greece. Powered by wonderful coffee and the prospects of weekends at the beach, we soon completed the first phase of the new app.

In fact, so successful was our working relationship with Piraeus that we now have a team based in their office. This team are developing new updates for the app, including more advanced financial planning tools as well as helping to set up an internal design studio – part of our belief in creating a design culture within all our client organisations.

As a nice footnote to the story, in November 2017 we were delighted to discover the app had been awarded Best Mobile Banking App at the 2017 Global Finance annual awards.