Quarter of the Future: Banking in a digitalized world

November 17, 7:00 p.m.—The Quarter of the Future, the new Deutsche Bank branch concept was opened together with 300 invited guests at Friedrichstraße 181 in Berlin. The laboriously renovated and refurbished former Q110 branch opened its doors: customers and interested people are now directly welcomed at the counter in the entrance area.
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Quarter of the Future

The café right next to it also seems highly appealing. I was surprised that the sales area for non-banking items (pot holders, chocolate, etc.) known from Q110 has also been integrated into the new concept. The area in the back of the branch which was previously mostly unused is now equipped with lounge suites and has a living room atmosphere. For more privacy, customers will find the four known consulting rooms. The workstations for branch staff are now clearly visible which is a major improvement to my mind. The “greenhouse”, as it is called, is a new concept—a mixture of coworking space and workshop area.

Quarter of the Future: Banking in a digitalized world - Deutsche BankDeutsche Bank, fotomanufaktur@schnittfincke.de

The ATMs have found a new location—they are outside of the building, with a separate access from the street to a green backyard. This is rather strange since the café currently doesn’t accept cash, only payments by card. In terms of the operational procedure, customers can now choose their consultants on their own. They introduce themselves on screens in the entrance area and on the website of the branch with a picture and insights into issues they are dealing with. Overall you can tell that a lot of dedication, efforts and not least money have been invested in the concept. It is inspired by other industries and transferred to banking, such as the counter (Apple), the location of the ATMs (milk in supermarkets) and a room scent you usually only find in high-level stationary retail stores.

Approach of the Q Club

Up to this point, I would say that the aforementioned further developments can be considered evolutionary, but not revolutionary. The approach of the Q Club, an invite-only club, takes it a step further: it is located right next to the branch, with its tasteful furniture, leather armchairs, (artificial) fireplace and own bar. This is actually a logical consequence at a time when personal contacts and meetings are gaining ever more importance and the bank has many contacts. I don’t know any other large bank in Germany having dared to take this step.

Deutsche Bank is aware of the fact that the current branch concept is only the beginning—it may be continuously further developed according to the statement made during opening ceremony. Following Christian Sewig, Deutsche Bank board member and head of the private, wealth and corporate customer (PW&CC) business, the underlying goal is not to digitalize banking, but to shape and implement banking in a digitalized world.

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