Bank Leumi is launching Pepper, Israel’s first digital-only bank, later this year. Partnering with Designit, a global strategic design firm specialising in digital and business transformation, Pepper’s innovation process was led by a multidisciplinary team of strategists, designers and technologists. Operating separately from Bank Leumi’s core business, the new venture is currently in beta stage but has global ambitions for the future.


In June 2015, Bank Leumi established a digital division that is overseeing the development and launch of Pepper. “In order to truly disrupt banking, we needed to create a different organisation,” said Pepper’s CEO, Lilach Bar-David. “The industry is suffering from a heavy lack of trust. There’s a demand from consumers for a Google- or Facebook-like simplicity in their banking experience.” As of January 2016, over 60% of Bank Leumi’s customers used digital channels to carry out their banking operations, with approximately 52% processed through digital channels.


Pepper customers will be able to fully manage their banking via smartphones with no account management fees, and will have access to current and savings accounts, lending products and a P2P payments app. “Most traditional banks use digital channels as an extension of their existing services,” said Bar-David. “Applying a user-centred approach that includes on-going co-creation, ideation and validation with target customers, Pepper is designed to provide a personal, proactive banking experience, with products and services built for the mobile-obsessed generation.”


Designit worked closely with Pepper’s product, marketing and development teams to define and design an entirely new banking service. With an aim to challenge the industry’s status quo, the experience was developed using ‘design thinking’ methodologies, a human-centred approach that puts customers first at every step of the journey. The process involved engaging with consumers to discuss their financial needs, learn how they manage their money, and understand how today’s banking solutions were failing to meet their needs and lifestyle. All these insights guided the design of Pepper’s products, services, features, and experiences.


Designit’s goal was to create an experience that not only provides solutions to customers’ financial needs, but is also easy, fun, and visually aligned to other digital products and services. Pepper’s branding honours its ‘digital-first’ identity with a vibrant colour scheme based on a unique RGB colour palette that cannot be duplicated for print. The new bank’s rich visual language will make it a true standout in the industry.



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