Wind of change in retail banking
Bruno Gehrig, Vice-Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank
175th Anniversary of the Savings Bank of the District of Thoune, Thoune, 21 November 2001, 21.11.2001
Complete text in German: "Retailbanken im Wandel"PDF (30 KB)
The 1990s brought far-reaching structural changes to the Swiss retail banks. Apart from one failed venture, these changes were implemented without any direct disadvantages for the customers. In 1994 the regional banks successfully took matters into their own hands and founded RBA Holding, a holding of regional banks.
A look into the future shows that the necessity for action persists. The consolidation process has severely reduced the number of competitors in several regions. Further concentration movements might have a widespread adverse impact on competition.
Small retail banks in particular must thus focus on further optimising their vertical range of products and on strictly confining their activities to those areas in which they themselves can create added value. On the other hand, sustained difficulties in the financing of credit business by traditional means have led to increased efforts being undertaken with regard to collective borrowing on the capital market.