In the UK Barclays is about to launch a campaign to position itself as a customer-friendly bank (via Brandrepublic). It is going to be the biggest advertising campaign in four years and it will basically focus on making the bank look "human". The ads, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty will portrait Barclays' staff as inventive and friendly.
Recently in Italy San Paolo Group did the same thing. It launched a campaign with a touch of irony starring its employees describing in an interview their role in the bank. The pay-off they used is "San Paolo, less bank more Mario" (or whatever was the employee name).
I think it is interesting to note the similar approach. Is it because their image has deteriorated or because the new consumer requires a brand to talk his same language?