Italian retail lender Banca Carige has selected Auriga to launch its fully digital branches, called Carige Smart.

Banca Carige has launched four Carige Smart branches that use Auriga’s #NextGenBranch digital self-service solutions.

The digital branches operate in parallel with the traditional branch network and allow customers to access all the bank’s services in self-service mode and interact with bank consultants over a video call.

Currently, Banca Carige operates over 480 branches all over Italy. The digital branches allow Banca Carige to preserve its physical presence, reach customers locally and reduce branch management costs.

The new branch-banking model is expected to increase profitability for the lender and cut operational expenses by 38% compared to traditional branches.

Additionally, the digital branch model allows the Italian lender to optimise skilled personnel and redirect staff to other activities.

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Auriga CEO Vincenzo Fiore said: “In our digital age, banks need to be competitive by offering integrated services that meet the needs of a diversified customer base while optimising their investments. Banks cannot sit by as powerful change affects the future of bank branches and technology can play a significant role in enhancing in-branch customer experience.

“We are proud of how Banca Carige is working with us to seize this opportunity for change, addressing the digital challenge through an approach capable of integrating the physical experience with digital tools and automation.”

Last month, Spanish banking giant BBVA announced plans to enter Italy’s retail banking business by launching a digital retail banking arm.