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What a Bank!

Times are hard, credit is being crunched and the world seems to be sinking into one almighty economic crisis.  Banking is one of the hardest hit sectors and some big names have been disappearing down tubes or are being bailed out by worried governments with taxpayers’ money.

The future is not all that bright and rosy.  You would think that to launch a bank in today’s economic climate would be a little like playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.  In other words, plain suicidal.  Still in Italy’s banking sector, which is not prone to taking risks and seems to be weathering the world wide storm quite well, someone has actually decided to go ahead and open a new bank.  But this is not just any bank, it’s a snappy, trendy new bank with branches fitted out in bright yellow decor.  Wow!  What a bank!

Oddly enough, this bank is called ‘CheBanca!’, which means in Italian, wait for it: ‘What a Bank!’.  What a name!  And what commercials this new Italian bank is running, as you will see if you read on.

A CheBanca! ‘What a Bank!’  Commercial


What a spot!

And here’s another:


A real cracker!

Would You Put Your Money in this Bank?

I don’t know about you, but this bank does not really appear to give off the air of an institution that you would want to trust with your money.  Please feel free to disagree as I am sure some of you would be more than happy to go dancing up to the bank counter and open a current account.  You’ll probably get free dancing lessons too.

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Stop reading, start speaking

Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.

As you will find out though, the musical ads seem to be having an effect.  I must be old.  Actually, I am.  Too old for this bank, that’s for sure.

Flash Dancer with Staid Underwear

A little surprisingly, the banker behind the dancing CheBanca! is the rather sober and staid Italian investment banking giant Mediobanca.  One assumes they know what they are up to.  It almost looks as though the young son of one of Mediobanca’s directors has managed to twist his dad’s arm into opening a flash young and trendy new Italian retail bank.  I do hope the risk managers have done their thing.

Yellow and Empty

Not far from us there is a yellow clad branch of this flash new bank which seems to be wearing staid underwear, and this branch, which I often pass on my way to work, has always been virtually empty.  I think I’ve seen what could have been customers in there on about two occasions in total.  Perhaps it’s the bright yellow decor which puts people off.  Then again I’m sure other customers have been waltzing along to Che Banca!  I could be wrong of course.  And I may well be, as one of the press articles from the Chebanca! site says that new customers are lining up.  Must have been on a day when I was not passing, I suppose.

Still, this trendy new Italian bank has attracted the attention of an English website which described the operation as being ‘cool’.

Another press article from November states that CheBanca! gaining new customers at a rate of 500 a month, whereas less yellow banks can only manage around 30 to 40 new clients a month.  Somebody must like the cabaret style publicity then.  And I am wrong.

Innovative banca

As a reflection of its, er, innovative image, CheBanca! (Oops, almost forgot the exclamation mark…!) offers its customers interest paid in advance on deposits.  This sounds good, but the small print needs to be read because there are a few get-out clauses which appear to relate to the time which cash spends in their no doubt yellow painted vaults.

CheBanca! also stays open later than many other Italian banks, with some branches closing at 7 pm in the evening.

Italians looking for a new type of banker may well be being enticed by the flashy ads and yellow decor and such Italians are probably young.

This Italian resident though would prefer to stick with banks which look more like what banks should look like i.e.  sober and professional.  Still, if the ads do it for you, then dance on over and sign on up!

What a bank in the midst of what a crisis.  It’s obviously run by some serious bankers.  Hope you liked the ad – you should see the Christmas version too!

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