HypoVereinsbank (HVB) and the Central Works Council have agreed after intensive discussions to a joint approach to implement the new strategy in the private client business, thus launching a comprehensive modernisation of that business segment. The objective is to create a modern mix of classical branch offices and alternative advisory and service channels by the end of 2015, geared to customer behaviour and market demand, and utilise the technological possibilities opened up by the digital revolution. The Bank will be making substantial investments in the redesign of all locations, the expedited development of its multichannel offerings, further training for its advisors and stepped-up marketing activities.
The modernisation will be carried out in record time: Before the end of this year more than 80 Bank locations across Germany will be refurbished with a contemporary look and state-of-the-art technology. Next year an additional 260 branches will be upgraded. As a result, by the end of 2015 customers seeking advice will have 283 refurbished, ultramodern branches and 54 advisory centres at their disposal across Germany.
For customers who want personal advice without going to a branch, the Bank will simultaneously push the rapid expansion of its video-based services and increase the capacity of the "HVB Online Branch". Alternative advisory channels like those introduced over the past three years by HVB – the first high-street bank to do so – are becoming increasingly popular due to changing patterns of customer behaviour and the longer availability times of advisors, and have a positive impact on customer satisfaction. Expanding this service will make it even easier in the future for customers to contact their bank whenever and wherever they want. The goal is for customers to have an assigned advisor at all times and to receive optimal service even if they repeatedly change their chosen communication channel.
The Bank will carry out investments in improved internet and mobile banking services by the end of 2015 to greatly enhance customer comfort when using products and services that do not require intensive advisory support. In addition, innovative tools will help them to manage their finances more effectively.
"With our new private client strategy, we will become Germany's first genuine multi-channel bank. In the future we will offer our clients the most modern form of personal advice – regardless of time and location, and always with an individually assigned advisor," said Peter Buschbeck, the HypoVereinsbank Management Board Member responsible for private banking. "In this way we will create excellent conditions for Germany-wide growth in this core business segment while significantly boosting profitability. Our investments underscore our commitment to the private client business and the branches as a key element in our multi-channel strategy."
The modernisation – as clearly stated by HypoVereinsbank from the beginning – will be accompanied by a concentration of the Bank's branch network, and thus with the loss of jobs.
Parallel to the modernisation of the 283 branches and 54 advisory centres, nearly 240 of the current 580 locations will be merged or closed by the end of 2015, with self-service areas remaining in place at approximately 50 locations. As a result, 85 percent of HVB customers who use advisory services will see little or no change in the distance to their nearest branch.
There will be a decrease of slightly fewer than 1,500 full-time positions in Germany, including nearly 1,300 in the private client business and 200 at Head Office. At the same time, new jobs will be created through the expansion of multi-channel services.
The Bank has made a commitment, in cooperation with the employee representatives, to proceed with fairness and transparency when implementing its new retail banking strategy and will do everything in its power to avoid redundancies. This will include the reassignment of at least 200 employees per year whose jobs are phased out to available openings in the Bank as well as individual training measures for departing employees to prepare for career changes.
Moreover, HypoVereinsbank guarantees that Private Clients Bank will have 3,000 full-time staff by 2018. This is regulated in a reconciliation of interests and a Future Agreement signed by the management and the Central Works Council.