The pandemic has had an impact on PostFinance’s result: while income from commission business increased, trading portfolio assets and net interest income declined. With the new SpeedUp strategy, which was launched at the start of 2021, PostFinance is taking countermeasures: it is setting new digital transformation priorities to improve efficiency and stabilize its financial result.
CEO PostFinance, Member of the Executive Board
The effects of the pandemic are very clear. There was a decline of 69 million francs in trading portfolio assets. Our customers have been doing significantly less travelling. This means that we are seeing no substantial conversion gains from cash withdrawals in foreign currencies and from the use of credit cards. We have also seen a plunge in revenue from over-the-counter transactions at branches and ATMs.
The low, and indeed largely negative, interest rates that have prevailed for years continue to erode our interest margin. As a result, net interest income, net of impairment, fell by 41 million francs. And this negative trend is set to continue, as current bonds that are comparatively profitable are due to reach maturity, but we will only be able to reinvest them for very low returns.
In the commission business, we saw growth of 18 million francs in revenue thanks to an increase in trading activities among our e-trading customers. Particularly after the global price declines on the stock markets in the spring, trading among our customers was above average.
We are accelerating digital transformation with the SpeedUp strategy and focusing our efforts on four key priorities. These will be driven forward in independent business units: Payment Solutions, Retail Banking, Digital First Banking and Platform Business. Our aim is to stabilize our financial result, and we plan to achieve this by investing in new business areas and continuing to improve the efficiency of existing structures and processes.
We are well on the way to becoming a leader in digital investment for retail customers.
In the current legal, regulatory and economic environment, it would be unrealistic to aim for significant profit growth. But SpeedUp is a very bold strategy: we have four business units that are developing their business independently of each other and at their own pace. This allows each unit to focus even more consistently on its customers’ specific requirements. After all, customer expectations vary in each of the different areas of banking – for example, in terms of the type of advice or the extent to which services are digitized.
Corporate responsibility is firmly anchored in our new strategy. We are already doing a great deal in various ways. I’m thinking of work-life balance, which we strongly promote and for which we have been certified several times to date. Or of our investment business, where our customers can already invest in sustainable assets. In 2021, we will create the foundations and analyses that will be used to set the impact goals for our activities in the coming years.