The bank where brick meets click

In Photo: Check out premium cars through the bank’s unique virtual-reality experience

Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino

FOR every interested car buyer, next to the choice of what to acquire is to find the ideal bank that would offer the best financing scheme, unless, of course, you’re paying in cash. While most auto dealerships today have their respective in-house financing, loans through banks are still very much viable. But, for the most part, some would consider the entire banking process to be somewhat tedious.  If not for the thought of your prospect car waiting for you to drive home, the experience would have been just another transaction you wanted to get over with.

The ARK offers a breath of fresh air from the usual bank setup

In another standpoint, most people look at banks with the notion of one purpose and one purpose only, to either deposit or withdraw money—everything else is negligible. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, but we probably just hate the idea of falling in line.  These are the outlooks that UnionBank wanted to change when they introduced a whole new concept that would change the way people look at their banking experience.   Located at the ground floor of the Insular Building along Ayala Avenue in Makati City, The ARK, dubbed as ‘the bank of the future,” is a new concept branch of UnionBank where technology intersects with banking.  The expansive interior offers a breath of fresh air from the usual setup.  Comfortable seats are abundant, including several waiting lounges to relax while immersing in a fresh atmosphere of banking.

The ARK is the bridge between real-world experience and digital experience, as explained by Customer Experience Manager Julian Aboitiz.  “This is the bank where brick meets click. The ARK is where the shift happens from a transactional space to an interactional experience,” he said.  It was further clarified that the new concept branch utilizes digital technology to augment an actual banking experience. “The ARK is the only concept branch where you don’t have to fall in line or get numbers before you get serviced. Instead, what The ARK has are highly trained bank ambassadors who are able to provide personalized service to all clients,” he added.

Kicked off during the event was the Auto Loans Week as the branch’s first community meet-up featuring special deals and promos for car-loan applicants.

“When you buy a new car through UnionBank during the Auto Loans Week here at The Ark, you can choose between receiving up to P10,000 worth of free gas or earning GetGo points to fly to Cebu Pacific’s local or regional destinations,” Ana Aboitiz Delgado, deputy center head and chief user experience officer of UnionBank.  Also launched was the exclusive Virtual Reality Showroom, which is the first in the country’s banking industry.  Here, potential car buyers can experience a unique way of virtual close encounter with premium cars through a VR gadget.  Although it’s far from the experience of seeing the car in the metal, Unionbank is simply providing clients with options that would help them decide when buying cars.

Also first to be introduced for Auto Loans was the latest collaboration between UnionBank and Cebu Pacific.  Bank customers who avail themselves of the loan can automatically earn GetGo points, which can be redeemed by flying to their favorite local or regional destinations via Cebu Pacific.  Aside from the Auto Loans Week, The ARK also hosted several weekly events, such as Home Loans, Travel, Gadgets and Technology this November.

Image Credits: Randy S. Peregrino

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Randy is our contributing writer for motoring and journey sections. If he is not doing test drives for monthly feature stories, he finds delight in covering travel events once in a while. His passion for cars goes beyond appreciation and knowledge as he takes pleasure in fixing stuff all by himself - as long as he have the right tools. Previously, he led teams of associates in the BPO industry from several offshore companies for almost a decade. He is a proud Thomasian.