Greek Bank Launches Skype Banking [VIDEO]

canstockphoto17558045Now, even Skype is a banking channel.

The Cooperative Bank of Epirus (CBE), based in Ioannina, Greece, has launched video customer service using Skype in April for its online banking customers. Currently in testing with a select group of customers, the service will roll out to all customers “in the near future,” according to CIO Giannis Tsavdaridis.

Callers must be bank customers, Tsavdaridis said, to receive a secure Skype ID from the bank when they book an appointment. Calls are recorded and kept “for a long time,” Tsavdaridis said. Also interesting to note is the authentication method, challenge questions.

A video illustrating the Skype offering appears below.

Skype is owned by Microsoft.

Video banking is growing more common in Europe. Nationwide Building Society has enjoyed success with it in the U.K. Barclays offers it; Poland’s mBank instituted it as a regular channel years ago, as have other Polish banks, and now CBE in Greece. There are multiple other examples cross the continent, but in the U.S., it remains a rarity. The technology, from Cisco, NCR, and others, exists, but is yet to be widely rolled out.

The knock on it in a survey a few years back was that, while bankers love the idea, customers in the U.S. are unenthused. The service allows a small number of remote experts to communicate with a distributed customer base. This lowers staffing costs and provides another tool for a “branch of the future” strategy, with smaller, lightly staffed branches backed by enhanced technological capabilities.

The Cooperative Bank of Epirus has about €350 million ($390 million) in assets, enough to make it the third largest of Greece’s nine cooperative (member-owned) banks. Greece also has a similar number of commercial banks.