June 20, 2024

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Deutsche Bank to axe almost half of Postbank branches

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Deutsche Bank is preparing to axe almost half its Postbank branches as Germany’s biggest lender embarks on a shake-up of the group’s lacklustre retail operations.

Claudio de Sanctis, Deutsche’s new head of private banking, told the Financial Times that the lender planned to close as many as 250 of Postbank’s 550 remaining branches over the next two years.

Postbank, which serves Germany’s mass retail market, has been a headache for Deutsche since it took full control of the group in 2010. The decision to make deep cuts to the branch network comes as the bank tries to appease angry customers after a botched IT migration disrupted services over the summer.

Alongside the branch closures, de Sanctis insisted that Deutsche would significantly improve Postbank’s digital offering. With 19mn customers, Deutsche is one of Germany’s largest retail banks but the business has historically been a drag on the overall group’s performance.

While higher interest rates have recently helped the retail business, Deutsche has resolved to make changes. Its separate network of Deutsche-branded branches will also be scaled back, said de Sanctis, while declining to say how many would go.

Despite a deep-rooted habit of using cash in Germany, the country’s dense network of branches has shrunk by 43 per cent over the past decade as customers move online. Lenders have closed more than 15,000 branches since 2013.

The drawn-out and messy migration of Postbank’s 12mn customers to Deutsche’s IT platform, which finished over the summer, has injected greater urgency into efforts to improve online banking.

Shortly after the migration was completed, thousands of Postbank customers were locked out of their accounts and the bank’s helplines were overwhelmed. Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin rebuked the lender over the failures and has installed a special…

2023-10-30 09:05:30

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