HypoVereinsbank pins hopes on direct banking

HypoVereinsbank pins hopes on direct banking

Germany's HypoVereinsbank is to close up to 15 per cent of its branches and cut 800 jobs as it steps up its investment in online and telephone banking.

Announcing the changes, HypoVereinsbank board member Stephan Schüller, says the bank will invest EUR220 million in enlarging its Internet capabilities and e-business this year. He comments: "We expect that 50 percent of our customers will transact routine business online or by phone by the year 2005."

Schüller says the bank's strategy is based on the high degree of acceptance of new communication channels by customers last year. In 2000, the number of customers who registered for telephone banking with the parent bank rose to 365,000 (+18%). Throughout the group, the number of online accounts rose in the same period to 1,511,000 (+114 percent).

The bank has initiated a 5-point programme intended to improve quality and convenience for telephone and online banking, involving the construction of a new call centre in Saxony, a total revamp of its Web-site and customer training programmes, and an aggressive investment in mobile banking services. The bank says it will introduce an innovative new cellphone banking service at the annual Cebit technology fair in Hannover later this month.

At the same time, HypoVereinsbank is to cut 10 to 15 per cent of its 1110 branches in Germany in the next twelve months and reduce the number of jobs in the private customers and professionals division from 20,000 by 800 by the end of 2001. Restructuring expense for implementing this measure will come to EUR20 million.

By 2003 HypoVereinsbank expects that the combined savings from cost-cutting and the implementation of the 5-point program will total EUR60 million annually.

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