Meridian launches digital-only motusbank

Canada’s newest digital bank, motusbank, launched Tuesday with branding that emphasizes customer care, personalized service and low fees.

Backed by the Ontario credit union Meridian, motusbank is not only going up against digital offerings from established financial giants, but banking brands that were born digital, such as Tangerine and EQ Bank.

“Motusbank is a full-service, digital bank with a full retail product line that is supported by friendly and professional member service,” said Meridian president and CEO Bill Maurin in a release. Because it is backed by a credit union, and therefore not beholden to shareholders, motusbank promises better pricing and services.

Its offering at launch includes no-fee savings and chequing accounts, unlimited free Interac e-transfers, loans and lines of credit, investments, and even mortgages with a number of low-rate options. “Because we’re committed to offering a truly tailored and personalized approach, we’re giving our members an opportunity to choose what mortgage term fits their needs best,” said chief operating officer Dave Baldarelli.

“Tailored” is a focus of early motusbank marketing, which is targeted to an ethnically diverse cohort of people 25 to 55 that share a digital-first mentality, said Angela Ricci, VP, digital marketing.

The emphasis is on digital and social video, using a bright colour palette that makes up a ring around the “M” in the motusbank logo. “Motus means movement, so I think [the branding] does a really nice job of portraying that—a new movement in banking with colour and types of imagery [that are] also very reflective of the diversity of the audiences we are targeting,” she said.

Meridian worked with Rain43 in Toronto to develop the motusbank name and logo. “But then to bring that to life, through our website and campaigns, that was largely through an in-house digital team that I have built,” she said.

“In many ways we are a startup… so we don’t have the big budget that some of our competitors have,” added Ricci. By developing her own team of “very skilled people,” working with added freelance help where required, Meridian was able to build the brand in a more “cost effective” manner, she said.

Aside from the master brand positioning using the tagline “Where banking feels good,” motusbank’s launch advertising emphasizes its ability to provide clients with tailored banking solutions and services.

“The theme is that we are very member focused versus shareholder driven, so that gives us the benefit of being able to tailor products and services according to the needs of our members,” said Ricci.

That advertising was produced with 5Crowd and is being pushed out via paid social, digital and programmatic (also handled in-house). Later this month, Motusbank will roll out an influencer program developed with Jones Media.

David Brown