Banks push employees and customers into the metaverse
Banks are betting on the metaverse, putting their younger employees and their customers into these computer-generated worlds in the hope that business will follow.
The virtual spaces, where avatars can interact with each other and synthesized environments, are seen as the next frontier after the great leap into mobile banking.
Hana Bank CEO Park Sung-ho met with new entry-level employees in a virtual world using Zepeto, Naver's metaverse app, on Monday afternoon, the bank said.
Park and the employees took a tour of the virtually-built Hana Global Campus, which is based on the bank's human resources training center in Cheongna, Incheon. This year's newbies were supposed to be trained at the Incheon campus, however they were unable to do so due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, they designed a version of the campus in the virtual space, according to the bank, and took CEO Park through what they had built.
Park took part as an avatar nicknamed Raul, and communicated with the new entrants to the bank.
"We are happy that our idea to overcome the Covid-19 situation turned out to be actually building the first virtual training center in the metaverse for a commercial bank in Korea," said Lee Eun-jae, a senior clerk at Hana Bank who started working at the bank in February this year. "I intend to pursue new challenges at the bank with colleagues based on fresh viewpoints" of young employees.
The bank said its virtual training center on the Zepeto platform will act as an online communication and training platform for its employees in the near future. Holding seminars in virtual classrooms in the center is an option, according to the bank.
"If it wasn't for Covid-19, we would have held various events offline for ceremonies and training programs for our employees," a spokesperson from Hana Bank said. "The virtual center will partially serve that role."
Woori Bank CEO Kwon Kwang-seok last week held a meet-up with new employees on Jump Virtual Meetup, SK Telecom's metaverse product. He took questions while playing quiz games and taking selfies with them in the virtual space.
"The recent meet-up on the metaverse has been a valuable opportunity for members of our bank to understand each other better," Kwon said in a statement Tuesday. "We expect metaverse to be a new opportunity for us."
“We will review various services that we can offer on the metaverse," he added.
Other banks are trying to engage with customers in the virtual worlds.
Standard Chartered Bank Korea announced early this month that a seminar on wealth management scheduled for July 21 will be held in a metaverse. It said it will hold its seminar in a virtually built seminar room, and avatars will welcome virtual participants.
While banks are just starting to explore the metaverse for business, the virtual world could become a major arena for customers and bank staff to interact with each other in the future, as the epidemic has accelerated the transition into digital banking.
"Metaverse technology has a chance to completely change the financial industry landscape as it goes beyond smartphone banking as it can actually connect online and offline services," said Shin Seok-young, a researcher at Hana Institute of Finance, in a report in April. "Already, global financial companies have started establishing bank branches specialized in offering digital experiences to customers with the metaverse in mind."
Shin advised that the banks need to find services offered offline, like consulting and due diligence, that can be moved online to the metaverse and run pilot tests to quickly respond to the changes to be brought on by wide adoption of metaverse technology.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global metaverse market is expected to grow from $45.5 billion in 2019 to $1.5 trillion by 2030.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]