© Nurur Rahman Khan, M T Hadi
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City Bank, the first private commercial bank in Bangladesh since 1983 has launched ‘City Alo’, at 30 of its branches in March 2019. The programs headquarter features a special coffee shop style Banking specially for women. The word, ‘Alo’ means ‘light’in Bangla language and the program focuses on four categories of women customers – women entrepreneurs, homemakers, salaried women and professional women. City Alo offers bespoke financial offerings breaking the monotony of mundane banking affair between two parties.
Tanya Karim N. R. Khan & Associates, also known as TKNRK was commissioned to break the banking stereotypes that tends to cause stress to most women. The stiff and formal environment inside a typical bank is not the case here. The Bank is located at a busy sitein Gulshan Avenue. The inside of the Bank is serene office space-cum-coffee lounge having a touch of feminine aura. The interior speaks volumes about business respite being a cozy little oasis for women exhausted from day-to-day life. The spirit of womanhood is highlighted at its best with “one-stop solution” for women for both banking and non-banking needs.
To offer its bespoke financial offerings, the Bank has partnered with Gloria Jean’s Coffees and has their kiosks in its premises. As soon as one enters, the aroma of brewing coffee basks them in a renewed sense of presence. The counters labelled, “Sit & Sip”, “Read and Relax”, the beautiful green climbers, books; adds towards more mindfulness. There is no waiting in queues! Welcoming relationship managers are all over the place. With just a tap, all banking needs are fulfilled over a coffee or a reading session.
The 5,811 square feet ground floor has various tempting seating arrangements. The Architects have used splashes of color and soft lighting to create the right atmosphere. Apart from the comfy plush couches, there are instagram-worthy wallpapers with experimental woodwork. Greenery is predominant almost everywhere and the Architect’s endeavor to create a ‘Shabby-Chic’ look is expressed in the use of rustic and classical elements design. The spaces are open and airy designed with local materials. There are several non-financial services which required a spacious multipurpose hall to cater training needs.
City Bank has always relied on Tanya Karim N. R. Khan & Associates for their out of the box ideas and claims to be TKNRK’s old client. City Alo lounge style banking is a result of dynamic thoughts of principal Architects Tanya Karim and N. R. Khan. The project Architect of City Alo Women’s Banking was Shahnaz Masud. These kinds of Coffee shop style Bank Branches are seen in countries like the USA, Singapore and Malaysia.