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Driving growth and network expansion with hybrid branches Powered by «Unblu Branch»

Valiant Bank noticed a 35% decrease in in-branch, human-assisted transactions from 2014 to 2017. The question was – how could they adjust without closing branches?


To overcome this challenge, Valiant Bank began collaborating with our digitization specialist Unblu in 2017. Since then, Valiant Bank has managed to:

  • Move from reducing branch opening hours and considering branch closures to increasing service hours and expanding its branch network to new regions in Switzerland.
  • Achieve key metrics around reducing branch capex / opex and revenue increases.

Find out how Valiant Bank – powered by “Unblu Branch” – is pioneering the future of the way customers interact with their local banks. Discover a new type of bank branch that lowers costs, boosts business and offers a second-to-none service experience.

Valiant Bank, digitale Bankfiliale; Wachstum; Engagement-Plattform; Hybridfiliale

Background and challenges

Valiant Bank is based in Switzerland and offers a range of retail banking services for private individuals and SMEs. From 2014 to 2017, there was a notable decrease in the number of personal assisted transactions, which fell by 35% overall. In response, Valiant reduced branch opening hours and, by the end of 2016, over half of the branches were open for just three hours a day.

Even so, the footfall was less than was needed to make continued operation of all branches viable. As a mid-sized bank, the choice was either to close branches or adopt a new expansion strategy. In 2016 and 2017, Valiant made the decision to expand – increasing their digital capabilities while opening new branches in Romandie, Jura and Eastern Switzerland.

The solution

Streamlining the physical design
The bank began designing their new branches in 2015. Valiant needed to focus on the cost of the branches themselves and began working with retail store constructors. Beyond being affordable to construct, the branches also needed to properly serve their customers and achieve the goals of fewer agents and specialists per branch.

Embracing digital for a truly hybrid experience
Customer interviews showed that individuals were open to a new, digital setup in a physical environment. To achieve this, the linchpin of the strategy centered on the digital concierge – powered by Unblu Branch.

The customer enters a bank and calls an agent or advisor who appears on the screen, ideally within 20 seconds. The agent can communicate with the customer through the screen, allowing them to be present in multiple physical locations.
If the customer needs more in-depth support or to discuss private information, they are directed to a private room to continue the consultation. For example, a key use case was the ability for customers without debit cards to withdraw cash. While having a staffed cash desk was of great value to these customers, it was costly to run, as it required an agent in each branch, not to mention the substantial costs associated with high levels of security. Now, when entering the branch, the customer can contact the digital receptionist, who directs them to a station and carries out a secure identification process. Once done, the agent remotely prints a QR code that the customer uses to withdraw money from the ATM.

Features and benefits

Longer opening hours

Longer opening hours

10h per day (vs 3h / 4h with the previous concept).
Cost savings

Cost savings

Lower branch operating costs: one agent for seven digital receptions, generating yearly savings of CHF 5 million across the 60 hybrid branches.

Branch set up costs : reduced from CHF 3–4 million to CHF 500,000–900,000 by digitising day2day client journeys and leveraging modular retail designs.

Business growth

Business growth

50% of revenue comes from the expansion regions. New advisors bring loyal customers with them
« We organized it so that agents take classic video calls, phone calls, and live chat. We saw a very smooth transfer of in-branch tasks to our digital service, and the new design is better accepted by clients because digital components have been added. »

Dr André Bodmer, Head of Customer Service Center | Corporate Developer


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