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Traditional and Technology Based Processes in Retail Banking

  • Over the past years, operating conditions of German retail banks have been significantly altered by increased regulation, digitalization and new competitors. Consequently, numerous market participants have begun supplementing or replacing traditional processes with technology-based ones. Wüstenrot Bank AG Pfandbriefbank (WBP), a midsize financial corporation located in Ludwigsburg, Germany, is a primary example for this development. Notwithstanding all reforms, WBP suspects that many of its online products are unprofitable, yet has been unable to perform accurate measurements. Research shows that this is by far no exception and that in spite of digitalization’s proven impact in other industries there are very few empirical studies comparing traditional and technology-based processes in retail banking. This paper aims at filling this gap by determining the present efficiency of technology-based processes at WBP and their potential for aiding optimizations in the field. The paper uses process costing for evaluating present profitability, a methodology proven in manufacturing and other service industries yet relatively new to banking, and thus also sets a methodological recedent. For this method processes are first modeled using the ARIS concept of Scheer (1990); following Cooper and Kaplan (1988) and Horváth and Mayer (1995) costs are then determined for individual process steps based on their resource consumption and finally aggregated into the entire process. In a second step the present situation serves as basis for simulating hypothetical scenarios used for assessing the effectiveness and impact of technology on further optimizations. The research finds that in the case of daily money, a typical online product, neither WBP’s traditional nor its technology-based processes are profitable in the first year after account generation. In fact, losses are so extensive it is likely the product is generally unprofitable. In addition, the analysis finds that, contrary to the initial hypothesis, technology-based processes are even less efficient than traditional ones. Through subsequent simulations it becomes clear, however, that rather than digitalization all together, it is the insufficient degree of use of technology that causes costs to be so high. Therefore, optimization potential is much higher for technology-based than for traditional processes. Consequently, the paper recommends further increasing the use of digital technologies and finds process costing to be the ideal tool for capturing the best of digitalization both within WBP and in the industry.

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Author:Tobias Bitzer
Advisor:Uwe Hack
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2015
Year of first Publication:2015
Release Date:2015/11/26
Tag:Banking, Retail Banking,; Cost-benefit analysis; Process Management
Degree Program:IBM - International Business Management
Functional area:Finance & Accounting