, Malaysia
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(From left) Christopher Yap, Managing Director, Business Banking, AmBank Group; Jamzidi Khalid, Managing Director, Wholesale Banking, AmBank Group; Bryan Loo, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Loob Holding Sdn Bhd; Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, Group CEO of AmBank Group; Aaron Loo, Managing Director, Retail Banking, AmBank (M) Berhad and Loo Chee Leng, Chief Operating Officer of Loob Holding Sdn Bhd

Bask Bear Coffee’s brewing project banks on a unique coffee experience

The Malaysian brand partnered with AmBank to bring its coffee nearer to its customers.

Partnering with one of Malaysia’s top banks, AmBank, Bask Bear Coffee took a step towards blending retail aspects in traditional banking by launching what they called a community banking concept.

Bask Bear Coffee is one of Malaysia's fastest-growing coffee brands that takes its inspiration from the Malayan Sun Bear. It has 200 virtual stores and 70 physical locations in the country. It serves coffee using the Aren palm sugar, a traditionally-sourced healthier option from Borneo with a unique tinge of caramel that accentuates its barista-handcrafted dark-roast Arabica brews.

Debuting in three AmBank locations—Klang Valley, Penang and Kedah in Malaysia—the unique collaboration blends Bask Bear’s cafe inside the bank, enabling customers to conduct their banking transactions whilst also having the option to have a cup of coffee between queues.

Community banking

In a quick chat with Loob Holding CEO and founder, the parent of Bask Bear Coffee, Bryan Loo explained that what they mean by community banking is that it is both a  café-in-a-bank experience as well as a bank-in-a-café ambience.

[From L to R]  Aaron Loo, Managing Director, Retail Banking, AmBank (M) Berhad; Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, Group CEO of AmBank Group and Bryan Loo, Founder and CEO of Loob Holding Sdn Bhd 

“Customers can order online and come in for their drinks and food while they have access to full banking hall facilities and services. Conversely, banking customers can perform their banking transactions online and then drop by the branch for a personalised consultation whilst enjoying the Bask Bear Coffee ambience,” Bryan said.

The concept also has its own unique menu starting with the Halal Korean Toasties range: from Signature Korean Spicy Chicken, Cheezy Crispy Chicken and Double Down Hash Brown all freshly toasted in addition to its speciality coffees

The concept was designed in such a way that convenience is extended to the entire experience. Customers can order online and come in for their drinks and food whilst they have access to full banking hall facilities and services. Conversely, banking customers can perform their banking transactions online and then drop by the branch for a personalised consultation whilst enjoying the Bask Bear Coffee ambience.

An inevitable change

According to Bryan, this concept is ‘an evolution whose time has come’.

“Community banking has redefined customer experience. In traditional banking, customers had to wait in a queue either seated or standing to talk to tellers or relationship managers. Now people can grab a drink and toastie whilst waiting for their turn. At a very basic level, that’s the new experience people expect from community banking,” Bryan explained. “With AmOnline being able to handle most transactional needs, it is now about ensuring customers who come to the branch enjoy a differentiated experience.”

Bryan believes that unique concepts such as these will be integrated with banking services.
“We believe there will be even greater integration as banking services converge with lifestyle retail choices. This is how our brands are staying relevant to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers,” Bryan said.

Currently, Bryan plans to expand this concept to 47 other locations, bringing such integrated branches to 50, with his team focused on evaluating existing branches as well as new ones. Loob Holdings is also looking into different ways to expand these types of concepts beyond the banking space.

“We’re certain this concept will continue to yield positive outcomes with higher customer footfall and stronger customer engagement in the long run. Our ‘café in a bank’ idea across three locations in the Klang Valley, Penang and Kedah has seen good responses from the business community and the café crowd in these areas. With that, we truly look forward to this continued collaboration with AmBank,” Bryan said.

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