Branch dying and Corona: boost for online banking

Branch dying and Corona: boost for online banking

Branch dying and Corona: boost for online banking

Status: 22.03.2021 2:27 p.m.

While many banks are closing branches, online banking is booming. Corona also contributes to digitization advancing. In an international comparison, however, Germany still has some catching-up potential.

The number of people in Germany who conduct their banking transactions over the Internet or via apps has increased significantly in the past year. This is shown by a current study carried out by the direct bank ING Germany together with the consulting firm Barkow Consulting. While there were 43.8 million customers in 2019, there are now 46.8 million customers.

Pandemic and branch deaths

Among other things, this has to do with the consequences of the pandemic, because some branches were closed and no longer opened for reasons of economy. In the ongoing trend towards online banking and fewer branches, many people have noticed that banking can also be done on the Internet, commented an ING spokesman.

In fact, the number of online customers has been growing steadily for years and in Germany the number of bank branches is falling continuously. Not only institutes like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are closing branches. Savings banks and Volksbanks are also closing many business premises in order to save costs.

Digital banking users in Germany from 2011 to 2020.

Providing a comprehensive branch network is no longer profitable, as digital offers are increasing and pure online banks are increasingly emerging. The experts at the consulting firm Oliver Wyman anticipate that the number of branches in Germany will decrease to around 19,100 by 2025. According to estimates, the number of locations is expected to shrink to 15,800 by 2030.

According to the ING study, tills in bank branches have declined by 37 percent and ATMs by seven percent over the past five years.

There is still potential

As the study also shows, the usage rate also rises by four percent to 65 percent – and thus faster than ever. This means that almost two thirds of people use the Internet, including apps for banking, at least once within three months. In a European comparison, Germany landed in 15th place. The average usage rate in Europe is 57 percent. Here Denmark is ahead with 94 percent.

Finland and Sweden have also made it to the top, while Romania is lagging behind with twelve percent. Assuming the same rate as Denmark for Germany, there is a potential of 20.8 million additional users for digital banking, the authors write.

Who could that be? Many older people hold back among the age groups: The lowest usage rate is found among the over-65s at 39 percent. The highest potential is found in 55 and 64 year olds.

It is particularly important to gain the trust of these age groups in the security of digital banking, said ING Germany manager Christiane Fritsch.

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Branch dying Corona boost online banking

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