Survey: Trend away from branches towards online banking

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: Banks and savings banks have been observing the trend away from branches for years. The pandemic made it worse.

Berlin (dpa) – The branch continues to lose importance for bank customers. In a survey on behalf of the Federal Association of German Banks (BdB) 46 percent of the respondents said they were looking open 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.

Confidence in the security of online banking has grown, as the survey published on Tuesday shows: Did it 2018 around half of the people in Germany (46 percent) are rated as safe or very safe , say that now around two thirds (64 percent).

In a long-term comparison, the branch is on the decline: While 2014 still 27 Percent of people said 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 carried out digitally will stay with it. ”

Many institutes have already reacted and thinned out their branch network or are in the process of doing so. At the same time, the industry is expanding digital offerings. “Nobody will have to do without personal advice in the future,” affirmed Krautscheid. “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. “

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