This Toronto shop is actually the city's coolest bank
Mogo, with its red hanging sign and dark windows, looks like every other store on West Queen West. Yet despite its on-trend design and wall stocked with Herschel bags and American Apparel graphic teas, this shop is actually a bank of sorts. Well, it's more of a finance-focused lounge for young, urban 20-somethings.
"Mogo is a financial brand that's really focused on millennials," says Chantel Chapman, Mogo's Financial Fitness Coach. She teaches the company's Adulting 101 courses.
"We really believe that you don't need to go into a bank branch or a finance retail branch anymore because basically your bank branch is on your phone now," she continues.
Basically, Mogo is trying to disrupt the world of banking, just as Uber shook up the taxi industry. And while the company is based online, it now wants to exist in the real world too. So, it opened up a permanent bricks-and-mortar storefront.
Manager Christina Kavanagh tells me that while you can come in and sign up for Mogo - using in-store iPads or you own phone - the space is more about education than sales. Though once you're inside, of course, you can easily find out your credit score and inquire about getting loan.
Since Mogo's focused on millennials, the space is quintessentially 2016. There's a marquee sign quoting Game of Thrones ("A Lannister always pays his debts. Be like a Lannister).
There's Mogo-branded swag everywhere, including the aforementioned Herschel bags, t-shirts and hats.
Mogo condoms featuring the lines, "Getting screwed by the banks?" and "Getting screwed by credit cards?" are also on hand; I supposed they're there to encourage passersbys to practice safe banking.
Since this is a lounge and not a financial institution, per say, the back area features a couch, a coffee table and a few comfy chairs. A book shelf separates this section from the rest of the store and it fittingly holds titles such as Freakonomics and Howard Schultz's Onward.
Like many brands, Mogo is collaborating with local influencer, artists and designers. Some, such as Kastor and Pollux, will eventually have their designs on the company's pre-paid Visa cards. Right now, you can spot their work on Mogo's free water bottles.
I go in intending to hate the space. Banks make me nervous and I'm skeptical about anything that screams "millennial." The staff, however, are lovely and the space is open to those who just want to hang out and discuss Beyonce's Lemonade, all while using Mogo's free WiFi, of course.
Photos Hector Vasquez.
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