A friendship between a bank and a café is reaping benefit


Last year, Citadele Bank and the chain of coffee shops Caffeine surprised their visitors by opening a bank café in Gedimino Avenue, Vilnius. The strategy paid off: the bank and the café both saw an increase in the number of clients. The second joint branch was opened in May this year in the Akropolis Shopping Centre in Vilnius.

A unique solution to combine the businesses providing different services was born when looking for unconventional methods to improve customer service. The bank café opened by Citadele and Caffeine in 2016 was the first of its kind in Lithuania as well as all Baltic countries.

According to Dace Priede, Chair of the Board of Citadele Bank, immediately after opening the branch in Gedimino Avenue, it was clear that the solution had been effective and very favourably taken by the clients.

“Today we are always in a hurry, always multitasking. We wanted to provide our clients with a place, where they could take care of their financial transactions and have some time for themselves – have a cup of coffee or just relax. Clearly, this aspiration corresponded to the needs of people: compared to the indicators of the former branch of Gedimino Avenue, the number of clients in the new branch increased by one fifth over the first year. The use of banking services also increased respectively. For example, the volume of loans in the bank café grew by 20%, the volume of deposits – by over 60%. The volume of new payment cards issued grew the most – by several hundred percent,” said Ms Priede.

Nidas Kiuberis, the Head of Caffeine agrees with Ms Priede and claims that after discovering a formula of successful cooperation, further expansion was inevitable.

“We are a business which makes quality coffee and creates social spaces. In the context of rapidly growing market of integrated services, the model of a cosy, home-like bank branch suggested by Citadele was a very interesting idea. The importance of the idea is most prominent among young clients, who very positively responded to the changes,” said Mr Kiuberis, one of the founders of Caffeine.

The second bank café of Citadele and Caffeine, opened in the morning of 25 May in Akropolis, is larger but it radiates the same strong aspiration to create an intimate environment. Inga Stakione-Līdaka, Latvian architect and designer who designed both branches with a unique concept said that combining such different priorities into one was always a challenge. However, the common space kept the perks of both the café and the bank.

“This time we had more space than in Gedimino Avenue, thus, its use was quite different. Our priority was creating a cosy space. In the Akropolis of Vilnius, the bank and the café are more separated from each other, but passing from one to another is hardly noticeable. A visitor can walk into the café, the bank or both,” said the architect.

According to Ms Stakione-Līdaka, this solution of a bank café is interesting in the eyes of a professional, because it must combine the things, which usually do not go together.

“It is a very interesting project design-wise. On the one hand, the designer has a lot of freedom to create the general mood, on the other hand, the intimate environment must accommodate safes and other bank structures. Putting all this into a single space so that each incomer feels at home is a difficult task, but this is what makes this place interesting to visit,” said Ms Stakione-Līdaka.

The colours and finishes selected for Citadele and Caffeine branches in Gedimino Avenue and Akropolis create an image that is more characteristic of a home than a traditional bank. The clients sipping coffee in the bank are surrounded by books, pictures and plants.

Some facts on new Citadele bank cafes:

  • Average age of branch employees decreased from 34 to 24.
  • More younger customers – average age of customers in new concept branch decreased from 45 to 37.
  • Recommendations attracted 64% of new clients.
  • The use of banking services also increased respectively. For example, the volume of loans in the bank café grew by 20%, the volume of deposits – by over 60%. The volume of new payment cards issued grew the most – by several hundred percent

About Citadele Group

Citadele Group is managed from Latvia, while its subsidiaries and branches operate in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Switzerland. Citadele bank handles card payments, offers credit granting, investment, leasing and asset management services as well as a variety of exceptional and unique products. The vision of Citadele Group is to become the best provider of financial services to individual clients as well as small and medium businesses in the Baltic States.