Our take on how banks interact with clients in the metaverse
As the metaverse begins to unfold, we explore the potential of this virtual reality for interacting with clients. The opportunity for a bank to open a branch in the metaverse is, or will be, a compelling proposition. This article explores some of the experiences we had while exploring the metaverse.
The metaverse — even in its infancy — offers an immersive experience. An experience that is well suited for banks that need to interact with clients. Clients will increasingly need financial services that support the emerging economic activity.
We’ll make an effort in answering these questions:
- Can you create a unique presence that is distinguishable and recognizable?
- With what kind of services and products should you start?
- What kind of interactions are supported?
- Do you need additional software or systems?
- Is it difficult to get going? Do you need special training?
As you can tell from these questions — we’re only scratching the surface. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any other questions or a different perspective!
Most of these questions are difficult to answer as there is no single metaverse. There are a bunch of platforms (‘verses’) with different takes on what a metaverse could be. These platforms are not connected or related. You can’t navigate (or ‘teleport’) from one platform to the other. Also, it’s a fast-moving set of technologies. What is true today may be different tomorrow. We’ll provide context and relevant assumptions when getting into the details!
Can you create a unique presence?
Yes, you can create a fantastic virtual branch office with your own architecture and interior design. Your people are inside and welcoming visitors as you like it.
The real estate development process in the metaverse is quite similar to the process in the real world. After acquiring a nice plot, you start working with an architect. The architect provides sketches and works with you on different iterations of the design. After that, a 3D modeller creates the actual building. Features like an elevator or opening doors are coded by a developer.
With what kind of services and products should you start?
The economic activity we observe presently is centred on virtual real estate, all kinds of other assets (like fashion items), and services. Typical financial services include credit, mortgages, and payment services. Credit and mortgages are services that support the trading of real estate and other assets. Fyndoo — our end-to-end SaaS lending platform — is well positioned to support these kinds of services.
Payment services come into view to support more traditional commerce. Like buying a Big Mac at McDonalds or a new pair of sneakers at the Nike store. That’s a commercial transaction where the buyer expects real world goods and the seller expects real world money.
NFTs function as the backbone for claim-of-ownership. The money that changes hands is dependent on the metaverse you’re in (like MANA and ETH).
What kind of interactions are supported?
We found interaction in the metaverse much closer to “being in the same room” than 2D alternatives such as Zoom, Meet and the like.
Doing serious business — like talking about financing commercial real estate — with an avatar is strange. Maybe it just takes longer to get used to, but we couldn’t shake a ‘game’ feeling. Banking is about trust — an avatar makes it difficult to get the trust level up. But maybe it’s just us — time will tell!
When looking at supported functions, we’re really impressed by the screensharing and whiteboarding capabilities (specific to Horizon Workrooms). This is essential functionality as your advisors need to be able to use their software to guide the conversation, perform calculations or other advisory functions.
We can imagine a much richer environment than the current environments. Performing 2D screensharing in a virtual conference room seems a bit poor when you could construct really cool 3D animated models and manipulate these models with your hands in real-time. Your fantasy is the limit. Wow your customers into bliss.
Do you need additional software or systems?
No, the software you currently use to support customer interactions also works. We’ve used our Fyndoo Advise software without any issues or adaptations.
However, business in the metaverse is different from what you’re used to. For example, establishing client identity is not ironed out yet, as avatars do not have a proof of identity. Payments and loan disbursements are generally done in a digital coin. There’s no good way yet to collateralise NFTs (if that’s something you would want). In summary, expect impact on your processes and systems.
Is it difficult to get going? Do you need special training?
The threshold of getting-going with the tools is pretty low. Most people feel comfortable after half an hour or so. We didn’t need special training — it’s consumer grade stuff.
Being comfortable ends after a few hours a day — it gets pretty uncomfortable after longer stretches. The headset — Oculus Quest 2 — performs very well. We can imagine that reducing the weight and bulk will go a long way in making longer sessions possible and enjoyable!
It was fun to explore the metaverse from a client-interaction point of view. We can advise you to do the same: start exploring and experimenting. We don’t think the metaverse (or any of its incarnations) is ready for prime time, but there is nothing wrong with building up some skills in the meantime!