Capital One will continue to uphold the “branch” model used by popular online bank ING Direct, which legally merged with Capital One this month.
Capital One will open at least six cafes in the Boston area to drive growth in its online banking unit, which will be named Capital One 360 in February 2013. After receiving regulatory approval to acquire ING Direct in February 2012, Capital One retained one-year transitional use of the brand.
The cafes won’t act like traditional branches, which usually handle deposit and withdrawals, issue loans and offer safe-deposit boxes. The cafes will simply be coffee shops that promote online banking.
The first cafes are expected to open in late 2013. ING Direct already operates eight of these cafes in major U.S. cities.
The concept reminds us of State Farm’s attempt to promote insurance products through a coffee shop in Chicago.