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When work and social life collide, we need social banks

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One of the themes of my presentations of recent times is how
technology has bridged the divide between work life and social life.

This came up in force again, as we talked about the role of
social media in finance at the Club this week.

For the older generation, work was always a place you went
to and, when you left, you closed the door and relaxed.

There was no cross-over.

Gradually thanks to email, the telephone and now the whole
world of social media, these two separated planets have collided, merged and

It is the reason why we have social capitalism and the
ability of anyone, anywhere to change anything.

I realise this merged world of social and work often as I
see business acquaintances on Facebook sharing their newborn child, family
holiday or drunken birthday parties with me.

Do I really want to see you with your tongue hanging out,
wearing a vampire outfit and biting your good lady’s neck or something even


Interestingly, we now find that this social analysis is
proving useful to businesses.

For example, in vetting prospective employees or even firing
existing ones, but it never used to be this way.

The days when you could throw a party telling work that you
are taking a sickie as Grandma died have long gone,
as everything today can be tracked, traced and watched today.

Now we all know this, and there are many stories that
illustrate it well.

But what does it mean from the other side?

If we all know that social is now part of business, what
role does business play in being social?

Some people believe it has no role, but those people are the
ones who will kill their companies as everything is about socialising commerce

That is the basis upon which new banks, like Moven, are
moving into banking, using social media analysis to analyse and give more depth
of knowledge about your trustworthiness using CRED.

It is also why we talk about social capitalism,
and social commerce is part of social capitalism.

What is social commerce?

It’s the ability to use social interaction as part of a
value exchange.

That might be exchanging other things than money by the way,
such as exchanging time as part of a community currency capability or
exchanging knowledge.

However, the core of social commerce is still the use of
trade – buying and selling – but now embedded in a shared experience with
friends and family online.

Amazon and Apple do this well, with entertainment being a
core part of social commerce, although entertainment has always been part of
social commerce as it is a social activity.

Other examples are creeping through, with more and more
retailing offering a social connection.

Sharing the latest shoes or clothes you’ve purchased via Facebook
is a simple example, and sharing holidays booked, work trips and almost any
other form of goods and services purchased is becoming a social norm too.

Sharing that you are a good saver or heavy spender is the
bank part of social commerce, although more intelligent forms of financial
analysis are coming through, such as how you compare as a spender or saver with
your social network.

So this then begs the question: if you have social media,
social commerce and social capitalism, shouldn’t we really have social banks?

And the answer is: of course we should!

There are some, with the Facebook banks of Turkey and India
being case studies in point that was recently discussed on the blog:

but these banks
are the exception and not the norm.

And then I bumped into another exception or even exceptional
bank, at our recent Financial Services Club meeting in Warsaw.

This bank is mBank, a bank that has embedded Facebook and
social commerce into its blood.

An example of how embedded Facebook is that, as part of
mBank, you can make a payment to any Facebook friend from within the bank’s
Facebook app.  You just tap on your friend’s
profile and send a status update: “send $5 to Fred”, and it’s done.

But what really got me about mBank is that it has been
spawned by a traditional bank: BRE Bank.

BRE Bank was founded in 1986 in Poland and has been a stable
part of the bank community backdrop for almost thirty years.

So when the bank moved from branch-based banking to remote
banking to internet banking to personal financial management, they kept the BRE
Bank brand.

Through all of these evolutions, the bank was still the
stalwart traditional bank.

Now however, in recognition of the social commerce
revolution that needs social banks, BRE Bank has decided to disappear.

Yes, you heard me, BRE Bank’s brand is being dropped and the
bank will be renamed and rebranded mBank later this year.

What began as an experiment with mobile banking a decade ago
has now become the bank.

Now that’s what  I
call a banking revolution as it makes me wonder whether Lloyds, RBS, HSBC,
Barclays and Santander will evolve into 21st banking brands with
names like Live, Shout, Talk, Listen, Smile.

Oh, we already have a bank called Smile?

OK, then how about Soon?

Oh, that’s AXA’s rebrand.

Well, there you go. 
It must be the 21st century.





Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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