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17 branches in Bonn and Cologne affected: Sparkasse Köln-Bonn closes every fifth branch

17 branches in Bonn and Cologne affected : Sparkasse Köln-Bonn closes every fifth branch

The Sparkasse Köln-Bonn closes every fifth branch. In Cologne and Bonn, shutting 17 banks effectively, but there will be self-service terminals. In addition, two Sparkassen buses will be operating to new locations in Cologne and Bonn.

Sparkasse Köln-Bonn is closing 17 of its current 82 branches in Cologne and Bonn. On Tuesday, the institute's Board of Directors approved a corresponding programme by the Board of Managing Directors, and employees were informed on Wednesday.

Eleven branches in Cologne and six in Bonn will become self-service locations. In addition, a new branch type will be tested at six locations in Cologne and Bonn. Here, an employee receives the customers and offers support at self-service terminals or during a video chat. Over the Chat the customers can take up contact to the advisors in the direct branch and open an account take up a credit or lock construction financing.

The operational readiness level locally is to be developed to a modern net with innovative products, as called in a report. The background: On the one hand, financial institutions are trying to save money in the low-interest phase. However, fewer and fewer customers are coming to a branch to seek advice on financial matters. On a federal average, one customer only does this once a year. On the other hand, he contacts the call centre twice and uses self-service facilities such as ATMs 24 times. Times have changed considerably. Because 120 times a year on average customers use Internet branches and even more frequently mobile phones for contacts with the bank.

This trend is also being felt by the Cologne-Bonn Institute. They say that there are branches with advisors who are seldom visited by customers. Therefore the advisory service is to be concentrated. The employees of the 17 branches, which become self-service locations, move to a neighbouring branch or to the direct branches that the institute already operates in Cologne and Bonn. This will increase the number of employees who advise customers by telephone, text or video chat. Telephone banking will also be expanded here, as will multilingual advice.

Employees should keep jobs

Ulrich Voigt, head of the savings banks, emphasises that their employees will not lose their jobs. The job-cutting programme that has been running for years, in which vacant positions are not necessarily filled again, remains in place. On the other hand, however, the institute is hiring employees with new qualifications for digital banking.

The cash delivery service is also to be expanded. For example, there could be a filling and collection service. This service is aimed primarily at older customers and the new mobile branch. Sparkasse Köln-Bonn is buying two buses in which almost the same banking transactions are possible as in stationary branches - from withdrawing money to personal advice. The buses could be used at weekly markets, for example. They have an electricity generator on board and an Internet connection. Suitable locations are to be determined with the city councils in Cologne and Bonn. Then the timetables will also be fixed. In order to familiarise customers with the new digital offers, the Sparkasse offers training courses in its branches.

"We are not withdrawing from the area," emphasises Voigt. The Sparkasse will remain represented at all locations. Of course, it is possible to move to another suitable building in the district at locations where the bank requires considerably less space because a branch becomes a self-service location. The measure is to be implemented from next year, but the focus of modernisation will be on 2021.

In future, Sparkasse Köln-Bonn will have 44 branch offices and branches in Cologne and 15 in Bonn. In addition, there will be a total of six new type branches and 85 self-service locations in Cologne and 39 in Bonn. According to Volker Schramm, the Private Customers Board Member, the bank has the densest branch network of all credit institutions in both cities even after the conversion.

New branch type at six locations

Bonn: Dransdorf, Poppelsdorf

Cologne: Dünnwald, Neu-Brück, Poll, Worringen

17 branches will be turned into self-service stations

Bonn: Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz, Brüser Berg, Friesdorf. Holzlar, Lannesdorf, Röttgen

Cologne: Wayside shrine, bridge, cathedral, Ensen-Westhoven, garden town, Junkersdorf, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring, Ostheim, Severin, Weidenpesch, Zündorf

Original text: Ralf Arenz

Translation: Mareike Graepel