Postbank introduces new branch concept
Berlin is Postbank’s strongest market
On Friday, Postbank introduced its new branch concept in Berlin. By applying a modern look, banking services are to be brought more into the foreground, without overshadowing the services of Deutsche Post and other partners in the branches. Postbank also wants to meet customers' requirements better with more service, better information, new products, more streamlined processes and a modern design.
At the beginning of 2006, Postbank bought the 850 highest-revenue earning branches from Deutsche Post. In the project ‘Branches in Change', the Bonn-based bank developed a concept of how it wants to present itself to its customers in its Postbank finance centers, now numbering 855. It will test the new format in eight branches across the country. Alongside Berlin, Postbank will be converting existing locations in Augsburg, Aachen, Garbsen, Constance and Regensburg and open them by the end of October. In addition, more Postbank finance centers are to be opened at two new locations in the greater Munich area (Grosshadern and Ottobrunn). From the beginning of 2008, phased conversions will take place across the country.
Postbank CEO Dr. Wolfgang Klein told journalists in Berlin: “Postbank finance centers represent the backbone of our overall success with their high share of new business.
We must meet the shift in customer demand with the new format to the benefit of banking services in our branches, without deviating from the basic idea of the shop-in-shop solution, because this is what has made us successful and is the only sensible way forward, also from the point of view of costs.”
According to Klein, Postbank has given priority to visually attractive functionality over trendy design as part of the reorganization of its branches. “If, like us, you greet around a 1,000,000 customers a day in your branches, customers with the most varied demands ranging from advice to banking products through handing in a parcel or signing a cell phone contract, you must pay particular attention to the functionality of those branches. The finest, marble-decorated branch is useless if the customer can't find where to hand in their registered letter.”
Hans-Peter Schmid, member of the Management Board with responsibility for Branch Sales, described the aim of the new concept as enhancing the attractiveness of the branches, to bring the banking business adequately to the foreground, while continuing to use the customers using the mail service to gain new customers and to generate new business traffic. In addition, he wants to optimize the branch network with regard to accessibility for existing and new customers. The branch formats should meet the most varied requirements at the locations, where the spectrum ranges from branches dealing with large transactions and a high volume of mail, to smaller branches emphasizing banking service and advice. This is complemented by standardized mail services.
Schmid announced the testing of ticket sales in the new branches. If this is received positively by customers, then another 50 branches will be added. For this purpose, Postbank has entered into partnership with Ticketcorner, one of Europe's leading ticketing companies. Schmid said: “Everyone will benefit as a result. Our customers can buy their tickets for a variety of events across the country. Our partner Ticketcorner will have access to one of the most wide-reaching branch networks with one of the highest levels of nationwide presence.
It also means we can add a new service to our range of products; one which exploits a new source of income while also creating a positive association in our customers' minds between our branches and leisure activities such as concerts, exhibitions and sports events.”
Postbank is paying particular attention to the subject of waiting times in the new branches. To increase customer satisfaction and reduce waiting times, the bank will examine three different waiting situations. The branches in Augsburg and Regensburg will have the familiar central waiting point. Aachen and Constance will be equipped with a customer queuing system and in Berlin and Garbsen, there will be a decentralized waiting system. Schmid emphasized, “Our aim is to have served 93 percent of our customers within five minutes.” The figure is currently just below 90 percent.
“Postbank can't be beaten in Berlin.”
Wolfgang Klein emphasized the special significance of the Berlin location for Postbank. “In no other German city does Postbank have such a large reach to customers. 4% of the population who can use bank services (from 14 years of age) live here, but 8.2% of our customers are from Berlin. Around a million people here have a connection to Postbank.” In just the last two years, Postbank has increased its coverage in Berlin by 1.3 percentage points to 18.3%. This is a top rating for Postbank in comparison with the average nationwide coverage of 8.8%.
Klein appeared confident they were also well equipped for the intense competition for private banking customers in Berlin, “Postbank can't be beaten in Berlin.” In an independent study by the Deutsches Service Institut (German Institute for Service Quality), Postbank was recently voted Berlin's best regional bank. Klein believes the basis for its success among customers is the result of local positioning, where Postbank employs almost 2,000 staff. All business units are represented, from corporate business through transaction banking, BHW Bausparkasse, DSL Bank and retail banking with the branch retail outlet network and the mobile outlet network. Klein announced his intention to bring these units together locally within a few weeks and to bundle together the sales units into one unit at Kurfürstendamm.
Almost 500,000 people from Berlin alone have a checking account with Postbank. More than a 100,000 people conduct their financial and mail business in 75 Postbank finance centers in the city, served by approximately 850 branch employees. Customers have access to 119 ATMs and 90 bank statement printers. Postbank Finanzberatung AG's mobile sales advisors have been an addition since the beginning of last year. Almost 300 people operate in Berlin as financial managers, investment advisors and mortgage lending advisors. Their services are available to Postbank customers in one of the 55 Service Centers or for consultation at home.