I had a chance to chat with CarrieAnne Cormier from Avidia Bank last month. Avidia is a $1.3 billion mutual community bank based outside of Boston. The bank has been getting a lot of attention over the last few years thanks to their efforts around mobile and social media, which has been supported by working with firms such as Hootsuite.

However, despite the attention on mobile banking at Avidia, and in the banking industry more generally, I noticed that they just opened a new branch and are building another new branch at a time where many banks are closing branches. I wondered why, and it led to a great conversation about how Avidia blends physical with digital, and how they use their physical spaces to engage in the community.

For Avidia, their branches are meant to blur the lines between physical and digital by integrating the bank, community, and social activities. They see their branches as a retailer would – always changing and trying to offer new value, while showcasing the new technology they offer to customers. The community aspect comes in supporting local businesses, such as bringing a live screen printer into a branch and partnering with them for exclusive co-branded apparel.

All this is great, but it doesn’t change the fact that their average customer is still a mid-Baby Boomer (around 60 years old). However, the branches are allowing them to expand into new markets and appeal to a younger demographic. While many still find it hard to believe, even younger customers still prefer having a bank branch nearby. A survey by Fiserv earlier this year showed that Millennials aged 25-35 visited a branch 4.6 times on average in the previous month.

All this leads the Avidia team to engage with customers across multiple channels, integrating experiences to build stronger bonds with their customers and their communities. For more about Avidia and their social media strategy, check out Carrie’s appearance on the BAI Podcast here.

Digital-only bank loses bank license
Tandem Bank, a UK-based digital bank, lost its banking license after expected funding from a Chinese investor fell through. The investor, who had expected to invest an additional £29MM ($36MM) backed out due to capital controls from China’s State Administration. Tandem initially gained its license in November 2015, but had to meet several hurdles to keep it, including the required funding. Tandem still plans to publicly release its mobile app later this year.

Sun still shining on solarisBank
Across the river from Tandem, Berlin-based solarisBank has raised an additional $28MM to continue building its banking API platform. SolarisBank has a banking license, and has built multiple APIs to allow nonbanks to plug into their infrastructure and offer their customers banking services. While the banking industry in Europe is often fragmented across countries, solarisBank can operate in six countries in Europe, and the funding will help them expand both their services and country coverage.

Favorites from FinDEVr
FinDEVr, the developer conference cousin of Finovate, wrapped up two days of demos in New York this week. Favorites included ModelShop, an analytics decision platform for customer value, loan origination, portfolio optimization, etc., Quovo/SoFi for their authentication APIs, and BlueMetal for virtual agents and conversational UX for customer service.

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