Kookmin Bank attracts college students with ’Rock Star’ branch
By Kim Jae-won
Kookmin Bank is attracting college students with customized branches titled “Rock Star” which provides not only financial services but also a comprehensive place for studying, entertainment and coffee.
The country’s biggest lender by assets launched 41 Rock Star branches nearby university campuses nationwide this year. Students can wait for a friend at the branch while using iPads installed there. Some of them debate social issues in seminar rooms.
“We opened Rock Star branches to make our brand image younger and attract college students who will be our new growth engine,” a spokesman for the bank said.
According to the lender, the head of its holding company, KB Financial Group, Chairman Euh Yoon-dae took the initiative to set up the new brand after considering the future of the bank.
The branch also provides specialized financial products for college students. Its Rock Star Account provides 4 percent in annual interest for deposits of 1 million won or less, taking into account students’ thin wallets.
Rock Star Debit Card holders can enjoy discounts on the subway and buses, for telecommunications and movies, at coffee shops, amusement parks, family restaurants, bookstores and convenience stores among others.
The number of Rock Star accounts topped 200,000 in December just 10 months after its launch. Kookmin said that its unique and aggressive marketing strategies contributed to the surprising results. The lender hosted a performance by an indie band in May which Euh and Kookmin CEO Min Byong-deok attended and drank beers with students. Min danced at the concert at the request of the band members drawing applause from the audience.
In October and November, Kookmin invited classical music students to perform chamber concerts at branches. The lender also provided scholarships for the students.
Critics say Kookmin changed the concept of the bank branch with its Rock Star project and showed new possibilities through cultural marketing. They say the bank now appeals to the young generation, overcoming its problem of an old fashioned image.
Kookmin also hosted a stock investment festival for students, the first such event among banking companies. It plans to award 160 million won in awards to 230 winners.