Bundesbank: Bank customers are threatened with further fee increases

Released on 05.10. 2021

  • The Sparkasse app on a smartphone. Photo: Monika Skolimowska

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Account app instead of statement printer, home PC instead of bank counter: The pandemic has intensified the trend away from the branch. Branches are also a significant cost factor for the financial institutions. 2021

Frankfurt / Berlin (dpa) – Rising fees and fewer branches – According to the Bundesbank’s assessment, bank customers must be prepared for this trend to continue remain stable and profitable, unpopular business decisions in the private customer sector will continue to be necessary, such as closing branches and giving up independence, ”said the speech by Bundesbank board member Joachim Wuermeling for a banking conference of the“ Börsen-Zeitung ”in Frankfurt . “Banks will increasingly pass on negative interest rates to customers and have to increase fees.”

Since June 2014 Commercial banks in the euro area have to pay interest when they park money at the European Central Bank. This deposit rate is currently at minus 0.5 percent. For some time now, the central bank has been granting allowances for certain sums in order to relieve the institutions. Quite a few financial institutions pass on the costs of negative interest to their customers. In the past few months, several institutes have reduced their customer exemptions.

In order to cut costs, a number of institutes have already thinned out their branch network considerably. Because more and more customers are using digital channels for banking.

This is also confirmed by a survey published on Tuesday on behalf of the Association of German Banks (BdB). Therein 46 percent of the respondents stated that they visited the branch of their main bank at least once a month. But only just under a quarter have personal contact at the bank counter.

The trend is towards online banking. According to the survey, six out of ten adults in Germany use online banking or mobile access via smartphones, for example, to do at least some of their banking transactions. More than half (51 percent) use such channels several times a week or even several times a day.

The departure from the branch world was “no longer to be denied,” said Bundesbank board member Wuermeling. “Digital, low-threshold information and offers are becoming increasingly important.” Indeed: the branch is becoming less and less important. While according to BdB information 2014 still 27 Percent of people stated that they visit their bank once a week, now only say so 13 Percent.

“The pandemic gave online banking a real boost,” said BdB Managing Director Andreas Krautscheid. “Every second person visits their bank branch less than once a month. This trend will continue. Anyone who has experienced how conveniently banking transactions can be done digitally will stay with it. ”

Industry representatives emphasize time and again that nobody has to do without personal advice. “After all, banks not only offer these in branches, but also over the phone or via video. And of course there will also be the possibility of personal contact in the future – especially with more complex banking transactions, “affirmed Krautscheid.

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