India’s PNB Bank Opens Virtual Branch in the Metaverse

Credit: PNB Bank

Punjab National Bank (PNB), the third largest public sector bank in India, just announced it’s entering Web3 by opening a virtual branch called the ’PNB Metaverse.

Customers can now perform a wide range of traditional banking services in the new virtual world, including retail and MSME loans, bank deposits, digital products, ‘Do It Yourself’ options, government flagship initiatives, and more.

The PNB Metaverse is powered from Infrasoft Technology, a digital solutions provider for financial institutions and governments that specializes in metaverse banking, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. The virtual branch can be accessed via mobile phone or PC by PNB customers.

The metaverse will engage customers in an immersive 3D world which they can navigate using their own avatars. Presumably those avatars will be NFTs, as is the case in most metaverses — though PNB didn’t comment about NFT technology specifically in its press release. There was also no mention of cryptocurrency or blockchain technology.

One of the big differences between the PNB Metaverse and a traditional banking website or app is that the metaverse branch is persistent — so once it opens, it never closes. With 3D graphics and people interacting in real-time via their digital avatars, it also more engaging than a Web2 banking experience.

Atul Kumar Goel, the managing director of PNB, said that Web3 technology can help with customer engagement by providing personalized experiences geared towards individual preferences.

Entering Web3 with a virtual branch could also be an attempt to market to India’s younger, tech-savvy generations early in their financial lives. For those who have already embraced fintech, entering a 3D metaverse to make a deposit or perform a transaction isn’t particularly challenging. And it could more fun for some people.

Financial Institutions Are Piling into the Metaverse

PNB isn’t the only financial institution we’ve seen enter the metaverse in recent months. At Rarity Sniper, we’ve covered dozens of stories about banks all over the world setting up shop in popular metaverses or launching their own virtual worlds. Even as the bear market drags on, banking institutions remain interested in Web3.

Here’s a look at some of the top headlines about banks entering Web3:

About a year ago, JP Morgan Chase bought digital land in Decentraland’s popular Metajuki mall for the jaw-dropping price of $900,000 in ETH. At the same time, the firm predicted the metaverse could become a trillion-dollar market. That said, its unsurprising how many banks have now entered virtual worlds in recent months and are continuing to do so.

We’ll have to be patient to see if PNB’s metaverse branch is popular with users. But if metaverse banks can increase customer engagement by bringing them products and services in novel ways, then the metaverse could be the future — or at least a big part of the future — for banking. At Rarity Sniper, we’ll follow up on any updates to the story.