Social Media and Banking Join Forces in Cross-Industry Alliance

Social Media and Banking Join Forces in Cross-Industry Alliance

Social Media and Banking Join Forces in Cross-Industry Alliance

Cross-industry M&A and alliances are gathering momentum as companies look for alternative ways to grow their businesses by accessing a new and different client base.

The banking sector has been particularly active in this area, which is not surprising given the importance of the financial services industry to the global economyMany successful tie-ups have been forged between banks and insurance companies, retailers and property firms, amongst others.

Social media has also attracted many banks, and this is where Spanish lender La Caixa has established itself as front-runner in forging new partnerships.

Last month, the Catalonia-based savings bank sealed an alliance with social media giant Facebook, launching the first banking application to create a credit card which is personalised according to the holder’s profile on Facebook.

 A BANKING PIONEER IN SOCIAL MEDIA

In 2010, La Caixa was the first Spanish bank to create a social network for its clients with its Online Community CaixaEmpresaThis community provides businesses linked to La Caixa with increased visibility and an opportunity to contact potential new partners, clients or suppliers.

It also chalked up another first in 2012 with an application for mobiles which allows customers to design and manage their credit cards on their iPhone. All the traditional operations available to La Caixa credit card holders are available with this “app.”

So what are the advantages of La Caixa’s alliance with Facebook apart from prestige?

Perhaps the most important advantage is that it provides the lender– which for many years boasted the biggest branch network in Spain – with the opportunity to attract those younger clients who are the main users of social media.

GROUND-BREAKING ALLIANCES

While La Caixa has notched up a raft of ground-breaking alliances, other heavy hitters in Spain’s banking sector have also been busy innovating and embracing social media over the last decade. Spain’s second biggest bank BBVA has its own online community, actibva.com, as well as a virtual campus to attract talent.

Mid-sized lender Bankinter, long recognised as a world leader in the introduction of new technology to the banking industry, opened a branch in whyville.com in 2007. Two years later, it set up virtual community Bankinter Labs, which has a profile on Twitter, a group on Facebook and its own YouTube channel.

In May this year, top banks Santander and Caixabank joined forces with Telefonica to set up the first joint venture between banks and telecommunications operators in Europe. The joint venture will begin its activities with the management of an online community to ease the connection between merchants and consumers. The community will be a new tool for retailers to boost sales.

For information on cross-industry M&A in Spain, contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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