M.ith tax advisors, bakeries and craftsmen, banks and savings banks have their problems. Do such self-employed and traders have to be looked after more like private customers or like (large) corporate customers? There are different answers to this question. Deutsche Bank has added its around 810,000 commercial customers to the corporate customer division, while Commerzbank, on the other hand, pushed around 30,000 of its business customers to the private customer division in 2017, but is now possibly planning the role backwards. Deutsche Bank, on the other hand, does not want to shake the assignment to the corporate customer division, but is now igniting a targeted growth strategy for business customers in its home market.
Stefan Bender, who heads the Unternehmensbank Deutschland, wants to increase the income with business customers minus costs annually by a double-digit percentage. The three brands in the group – Deutsche Bank, Postbank and their one-year-old digital brand Fyrst with currently 12,000 customers – are to be retained, but brought together on a technical platform. “We are pooling our internal forces, creating a more powerful unit, business customers‘ with their own identity and a ten-person management team, “says Bender in an interview with F.A.Z.
Volker Broer is coming
To this end, Deutsche Bank has hired Volker Broer, most recently a partner in the technology consultancy Senacor, to take care of the expansion of the business customer platform and the design of new products. Bender suggests that more tech-savvy financial experts from outside are likely to join.
Digitization, which has gained considerable momentum as a result of Corona, enables Deutsche Bank to reach its customers less in the branch, but instead via digital channels. So far, individual support for the 810,000 business customers, who make up around 40 percent of the credit volume in the corporate customer division (excluding multinational companies), was less possible because this was too fragmented for a major bank like Deutsche Bank. Rather, major banks are looking for similarities among customers in professional groups such as doctors, craftsmen and notaries in order to do business with them. In the meantime, however, online offers are no longer just for individual professional groups, but rather they are equally interesting for many business customers, believes Bender.
How is it scalable?
As an example of this “scalability”, he cites a process that Deutsche Bank only had to program once: It shows all business customers in online banking the way to the right Corona aid loan from the state-owned KfW bank; it is not easy to find it alone in the mining thicket. “Technology enables us to offer individual solutions for different professional groups and their special requirements from a uniform basis,” adds André Bajorat, who has been responsible for the strategy of Deutsche Bank’s corporate bank for four months and who has headed the Figo fintech as chief executive for many years Has.
Deutsche Bank expects that accelerating digitization will also bring movement to the banking market for business customers. It sees itself in competition with traditional competitors such as the Sparkassen and VR Banken on the one hand and neobanks such as Paypal on the other, which are technology-driven in a niche. Deutsche Bank wants to score points with its wide range of products and by using new digital technology for itself and that of its customers. “We will react to the fact that the e-prescription creates new billing models for pharmacists. And in future it will be possible for all business customers, provided their credit rating allows them, to increase their credit lines online, ”says Bender as examples of points of contact.
Activation of customers
Deutsche Bank also sees itself correctly positioned with the assignment of business customers to the corporate customer division and not to the private customer division. “It is easier for corporate client advisors to recognize that a doctor, for example, has investment needs to avoid negative fees after the sale of his practice,” says Bender. His goal is less acquisition of new customers, although the potential with 3 million small businesses and freelancers in Germany is great.
Priority is given to the activation of all 810,000 business customers and a high level of customer satisfaction. Only 6000 customers are simultaneously customers of Deutsche Bank and Postbank, which was finally integrated a year ago. The overlap between the brands is therefore low. Now it is important to get started under one roof in order to actually achieve the goal of double-digit annual percentage growth in earnings.