Happy 7th Birthday, George! Who gives banking a name. And a purpose.

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On 17 July 2012, the first line of George Code was written. Exactly 7 years later, banking has a name for almost 5 million customers in Europe. A kitchen table in Vienna is where it all began …

 

#BankingHasAName

Once upon a not so far away time, the name of banking was pain. Well, at least for those who were already smoothly shopping, streaming, dating online but had to bank with some online-ish form from outer analogue space. It was a time when your chai latte was still fancier than the way you paid for it, a time when digitalisation challenged everything but not yet banking. Here’s how a bunch of people stood up or rather sat down to change that for good:

 

Video directed, shot and edited by Zwupp.

 

#WeAreGeorge

Probably the most astonishing thing about the George story is that it found its beginning not in the garage of some of the sprouting challenger banks that also rightfully started up to change the (inter)face of digital banking (kudos to some of them, well done!). George is the offspring of a banking institution for which “traditional” is not an insult: Erste Group, celebrating its own 200 years of history this year. It does not go without saying that a bankosaurus associated with a proud, yet kind of old-fashioned term like “Sparkasse” became one of the top 10 banks in digitalisation, not Austrian-wide, not CEE-wide, not Europe-wide but globally (According to Autonomous Research, 2019): It is because of George.

How did this work? Of course, as the creators of George, the George team tends to unicornify itself, but to be very honest, all this would not have been possible without the support, patience, nerves, vision, confidence, coolness and of course the money provided by the top management in Erste Group, let’s name just the most crucial one: CEO Andreas Treichl. To create the Erste Hub in 2012 and to let the small team experiment, develop, fail and try again was a venture and it was not clear it would pay off as much as it does 7 years later. Glorious story short: Thank you, boss!

5 millions, 5 countries

Today, George the European gives banking a name for close to 5 million people in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and even the first ones in Croatia. With one design, one voice and many plugins, George is their digital companion through financial life: simple, intelligent, personal – and unique. Powered by the local banks, George is created with the same empathy as in the beginning.

 

Of course, George isn’t a child anymore and raising him to shine can’t be done on one table anymore. The small bunch of people from the Erste Hub and BeeOne became a team of more than 250 people from 33 nations, based in Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, Bucharest, Zagreb, Budapest and many remote places. George Labs and Erste Group IT are the two equal entities that join forces, talents and commitment to give banking not only a name but a purpose. 

Because that’s what all this is for: to give people access to, control of and guidance through their financial life. With Erste Group positioning itself as a financial health company, George is the perfect match: George is fancy, friendly & fierce, which we like. But most of all, he strives to uncomplicate and improve your life.

Cheers to that and to many healthy years to come, Europe! And happy 7th birthday, George!

Caption this on George’s insta and win a surprise!
https://www.instagram.com/thegeorgelabs/

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Dag Erik Zimen

Dag Erik Zimen

Dag, the voice and story-teller of George. As senior copywriter at George-labs.com, he gives George a tonality, a personality, a few typos and hopefully some wittiness.

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