Technology has disrupted all facets of our lives, and all industries need to adapt to this ever-changing digital economy. While it seems most people want to do everything on their mobile device and on the go, sometimes they want a personal connection, too. This is true for many industries and banking is no exception. How do you bring community, innovation and support into banking? Capital One has answered this question with an entirely new concept it’s bringing to Seattle called the Capital One Café.
A top priority for Capital One is to provide their customers with the flexibility to bank wherever and whenever they need, ensuring they have access to resources and support every step of the way. The company wants to form real relationships in the community while keeping its banking culture simple and straightforward. In essence, Capital One wants to encourage patrons to build their own banking experience. And it has come up with a way to do it with Capital One Cafés, one-stop shops where customers can ask Capital One Ambassadors questions about their finances, have access to financial digital innovation, grab a cup of coffee, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, and even host private company meetings. The shops are hybrids that bring banking and living together. They have opened in 10 other communities across the country—and now they’re coming to Seattle.
The company plans to open two new cafés in mid-2017—one in South Lake Union (at 333 Westlake Avenue) and the other in Bellevue (at 418 Bellevue Way NE). The cafés will reside in the dual hubs of the area’s tech industry, the success of which has turned Seattle into one of the country’s fastest growing large cities. With more people and more tech, comes more innovation, and wherever innovation is found, so is Capital One. “A lot of businesses are looking to move into the area,” says Ryan Laudenbach, Cafe Market Lead at Capital One. “We’re hoping the Cafés can serve as a hub for the professionals, entrepreneurs and community organizations already engrained in or moving to Seattle.”
Once the Capital One Cafes open, people who live and work nearby can visit to learn about Capital One services in an unintimidating setting that will feature Peet’s Coffee & Tea and pastries from Seattle’s own Fuji Bakery, known for its crunchy cream donuts and salmon brioche. The new cafes will also contain conference rooms where small teams from nearby companies can hold offsite meetings. The cafes are excited to accommodate the employees of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and the bevy of tech startups in the area. “What’s equally important is not just what we do inside our cafes, it’s what we are able to do in the communities we’re in,” says Laudenbach.
Beyond digital banking, Capital One Cafes serve as hyper-local community hubs. Café ambassadors at each location live in the immediate community they seek to support, lending an insider’s perspective to local causes and an avenue for these ambassadors to interact first-hand with impactful organizations that may need a little extra financial or manpowered boost.
In Los Angeles, for example, Capital One ambassadors recently partnered with regional Junior Achievement chapters to teach a financial literacy class for kids and young adults. In San Francisco, ambassadors teamed up with a local school district to help paint a mural and promote arts education.
In Seattle, Capital One has already supported organizations such as Northwest Harvest, Habitat for Humanity, and Seattle Public Schools. Ambassadors have worked with The Seattle Foundation’s Skill Up Washington program to help low-income working adults pursue a postsecondary education. And they’ve supported organizations like Year Up Puget Sound to help provide young adults with the skills, experience, and support necessary to reach their full potential.
Capital One is also fostering meaningful community interaction through a new educational speaker series—called #CapXTalks. Organized in a similar format to TED Talks, these events feature financial thought-leaders and visionaries in conversation about creating innovative digital products and services. So far, panels have discussed the role of consumer-centric design in creating new digital experiences and explored ways to accelerate small business growth using the latest financial technology.
The next #CapX Talk—Seattle’s first—is entitled “Reimagining Finances: Financial Realities That Inspire New Ideas, Innovation and Education.” The panel will take place on October 13, and will feature visionaries, including Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert and regular contributor on the Today Show, CNN, and NPR; Jake Fuentes, Head of New Products for the Consumer Bank of Capital One and CEO of Level Money; Stefanie O’Connell, Millennial Finance Expert and author of The Broke and Beautiful Life; and Erin Lowry, Millennial Finance Expert and founder of BrokeMillennial.com. The speakers will discuss new technological innovation, how it affects the current millennial generation, and what’s to come in the future. Although this is a closed Seattle event, the #CapX Talk will be streamed live and archived on fora.tv.
The event will be just a sample of the kind of innovative thinking that will be brought to live at some select Capital One cafes, where you will be able to meet with coworkers, support the community, and chart the course of your financial future … all while enjoying one hot cup of coffee, made to order.