Stop the presses: Caixa launches mobile only sub-brand imaginBank

The launch of imaginBank, Spain’s first mobile-only bank providing banking services exclusively through mobile apps and social networks.

It’s only the second week of 2016 – a very Happy New Year to all subscribers by the by – but it is safe to say that the roll out of imaginBank will be one of the big digital banking stories of the New Year.
laCaixa is rightly regarded as a world class leading digital bank. Imagin will leverage the latest technology and the high penetration rates for smartphones and social networks, especially among the young adults segment in Spain.
It is the last two points that are especially interesting. The use of social networks and the new bank’s segmentation strategy.  
CaixaBank currently services 2.9 million customers aged between 18 and 35, with a market share in this segment of 30%, meaning one in three individuals in Spain in this age range are CaixaBank customers.
The bank is however at pains to stress that the service will be aimed at customers of all ages; it talks of serving millennials or digital natives of all ages; anyone to whom a new, simple and innovative service model might appeal.
On charging, the bank is aiming at simplicity: one that charges customers no maintenance fees but is comprehensive enough to cover all of the financial services demanded by the target market.
imaginBank customers will manage their products and services via apps. The app will support fingerprint identification for devices that have fingerprint sensors.
Everything will be run entirely on mobile devices. There is also an imaginBank website (www.imaginBank.com), but this is only provided as a source of basic information.
Wearable tech is also covered: imaginBank will offer services for smartwatches, with a special application that includes an ATM and branch finder, as well as several other features.
An imaginBank Facebook application will be offered so that customers can check account balances and view recent transactions in a secure environment.
Social networks are also harnessed to provide customer service 24 hours a day. A Twitter channel is also available to all users, as is the customer service line.
In addition, there will be an internal chat system to contact account managers, while there is also a WhatsApp message line.
There are advanced services to allow customers to manage personal finances and make transfers and P2P payments.
The imaginBank account will support free money transfers to any account in Spain, regardless of the bank that they are held at. Money can also be sent to a CaixaBank ATM, with customers then able to make a withdrawal without taking their card with them.
Add in a Visa imaginBank debit card with no annual maintenance fees and at first glance, this all adds up to a potential winner.
CaixaBank has not earned its reputation as one of the world’s leading digital banks by accident. Having had the pleasure of visiting its innovation lab and getting to know some of its leading executives, it is one of the favourite banks on this editorial desk: the analysts Forrester go even further.
Last year, Forrester’s “2015 Global Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark” report from Forrester Research, examining the mobile applications provided by 41 major retail banks all over the world named CaixaBank as the world’s best mobile banking operator.
I remember being quite excited by the Raiffeisen launch of its Zuno sub-brand; I got that one terribly wrong. I’ll stick my neck out and forecast – not I suspect a reckless forecast – that CaixaBank is onto a winner with imagin.