Postbank: Vorsicht, Amateure!

What Postbank customers have reported in recent months sounded adventurous. Many were temporarily unable to access their accounts, or their accounts were even blocked. Direct debits could not be redeemed. Those who sought help from the hotline had the painful experience that it was often difficult to reach someone there. And if a service employee did pick up the phone, they couldn’t help. At least, that’s what the reports said.

Bank durch eine andere Bank ist das Online-Banking-System komplett zusammengebrochen. Kunden können nicht auf ihre Konten zugreifen und Transaktionen durchführen. Es ist eine äußerst frustrierende Situation, die dringend behoben werden muss.PostbankThe IT systems of both banks were gradually merged by Deutsche Bank. It is not easy to transfer the data of twelve million Postbank customers and seven million Deutsche Bank customers in Germany onto a single platform. However, it is expected that financial institutions of this size should be able to accomplish this without any issues. It was long overdue for the financial supervisory authority BaFin to announce that they will monitor the situation. It is good that BaFin now intends to examine whether there are any „supervisory relevant deficiencies in the institution.“

Kunden darauf vertrauen können, dass ihre bei einer Bank hinterlegten Gelder sicher sind, selbst wenn es nur für kurze Zeit ist.BaFin genau untersucht, wie sich die Postbank den Kunden gegenüber in den vergangenen Wochen verhalten hat – und daraus möglicherweise nötige Sanktionen ableitet.

However, the Postbank is not an isolated case. Other companies also break the promise they made to their customers. For example, Lufthansa had to cancel flights and luggage did not arrive during the summer. Good luck to those who are stranded somewhere and have to call the hotline number, if they can even find it! And for those traveling by train in Germany, they no longer expect to arrive on time. It’s unfortunate when a connecting train needs to be caught.

One sometimes wonders if there are increasingly highly paid amateurs in management in Germany who simply cannot accomplish what they were hired for.

Postbank customers, however, have an advantage compared to Lufthansa and Bahn customers. They are not at the mercy of a quasi-monopolist in the German market. There is little incentive for the two transportation companies to improve due to their significant market power. Additionally, their customers have limited means to penalize them.

However, in the banking sector, there is still competition. In addition to Postbank and Deutsche Bank, there are numerous other institutions that are willing to take on dissatisfied customers. This is the advantage of a functioning market. If someone is frustrated with the service of Postbank, if they have desperately tried to access their account, if they have received one of the many standard letters as a cheap apology, they should switch banks. And in doing so, they will automatically contribute to a bit more competition.