The "handelsblatt" (wednesday) reported on plans to reduce the number of branches from the current 1000 to between 800 and 900. According to information from "manager magazin," there is even a scenario on the table in which only 600 to 650 locations could be left in the end. A commerzbank spokesman did not want to comment on the reports when asked on wednesday.
Following the collapse of the hoped-for merger with deutsche bank, commerzbank is looking for answers to weak earnings and low interest rates. With its focus on private customers as well as corporate customers and smes, the mdax-listed bank considers itself to be fundamentally well positioned. However, martin zielke’s board of management was not satisfied with profitability recently. In the first half of the year, profit slumped to 391 million euros, compared with 533 million euros in the same period of the previous year.
And the outlook is becoming increasingly gloomy: the economy is weak, the european central bank (ECB) has been able to tighten the penalty interest rates for bank deposits even further. When presenting the quarterly figures at the beginning of august, zielke admitted that it would be "considerably more ambitious" to achieve the annual target of a slight increase in profits: "the challenges for the industry and for us are continuing to increase."
In the fall, the management intends to present a plan on how the bank, whose major shareholder is the german state, is to be brought forward in the coming years. Then the strategy that has been pursued since october 2016 comes to an end.
For some time now, commerzbank has been relying on a mix of micro-branches and large, full-service locations for its branches. In december, michael mandel, member of the board of management responsible for private customers, emphasized: "I think the discussion about closing branches is misguided." For years, the bank has been stable around 450.000 customer visits per day in your branches. "You can see that digital is not replacing the branch." Ultimately, it is about an efficient, flat-covering offer.