Frankfurt The Frankfurter Volksbank and the Taunus Sparkasse from Bad Homburg are putting together branches on a large scale – a step that has never been seen before in this form. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the Frankfurter Volksbank on request. According to an insider, it is about 50 branches. Both banks are strongly represented in the Frankfurt area.
Previously, the "Welt am Sonntag" and the "mirror" had reported on details of the project. For example, the joint branches will be open on four days of the week. On two days customers of the savings bank are looked after, on the other two days customers of the Volksbank. The two banks therefore want to invest five million euros in the restructuring of the branches and close branches in other locations.
The cooperation on this scale is remarkable, because savings banks and cooperative banks are actually rivals and consider each other even more as competitors than the online banks. The more than 380 savings banks are market leaders in Germany with around 35 million current accounts, while the Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken hold just under 26 million current accounts.
Nevertheless, savings banks and cooperative banks struggle with the same problems. Although they are still earning good, they must expect their profits to decline significantly in the coming years, given the negative interest rate policy of the European Central Bank. That is why many regional financial institutions are already on the cost brake. One consequence is branch closures.
However, the closure of branches is a balancing act for savings banks, such as Volksbanks, because they can set themselves apart from other banks in the countryside by their local presence. For many customers, the store is also important, by no means all are doing their banking online.
Nationwide, there are numerous examples of savings banks and Volksbanken or Raiffeisenbanken sharing branches or their customers being allowed to use the ATMs of the other financial group. Most of the time, however, this is only about a handful of locations.
The credit institutions try to stay present through the cooperations, without having to close branches completely. However, the cooperation between Frankfurter Volksbank and Taunus Sparkasse goes much further and could serve as a model for other houses in both sectors. Frankfurter Volksbank is the second largest Volksbank in Germany, with a balance sheet total of over twelve billion euros. The Taunus Sparkasse comes to almost six billion euros and is one of the 50 largest savings banks.
Recently, the branch dying in Germany accelerated. Last year, the number of branches fell by 2239 to 27,887 branches, as the Bundesbank recently announced. This is a minus of 7.4 percent and a much stronger decline than in previous years.
More: Commerzbank is under pressure to stop the downtrend with a new strategy. The money house is considering closing more than a hundred branches. Read more here.
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