Raiffeisen, the third-largest banking group in Switzerland, is feeling the consequences of the increasing digitalisation of the banking industry. Some 250 of the bank’s 1,000 branches face closure over the next five years.
This is because more and more customers are doing their banking online, the bank’s new CEO Patrik Gisel said in Zurich on Friday.
No job losses were foreseen, a spokesman told the Swiss News Agency, adding that it would be small branches that would be closed and that mergers of local Raiffeisen banks was a possibility.
Gisel maintained, however, that Raiffeisen would remain the Swiss bank with the largest regional presence.
Some 1.9 million Raiffeisen customers are cooperative members and therefore co-owners of their bank.
On Friday, Raiffeisen also announced record group profits of CHF808 million ($811 million) for 2015, a jump of 6.4% on the previous year. The operating result, or income before interest and taxes, increased 5.9% to CHF943 million.
Customer deposits also grew significantly, by 6.2% to CHF8.7 billion. At the end of 2015, Raiffeisen managed a total of CHF207 billion.
As for 2016, the bank said it was cautious. Gisel said a decision by the Swiss National Bank in January 2015 to scrap its franc-euro exchange rate ceiling, was still having an effect. Also, general global uncertainty was an additional challenge for Swiss exporters, he said.
In Gisel’s opinion, the bank’s hopes lie in moderate growth in the eurozone.
swissinfo.ch and agencies