Swiss bank Credit Suisse said it plans to invest heavily into its digital ecosystem, and that it doesn’t think it’s necessary to have a large number of branches to compete with other banks, according to a report by Reuters.
The bank said it would invest hundreds of millions of francs by the end of 2021. Many banks in Europe have been cutting jobs and closing branches as more and more customers continue to do their banking online.
The move has been helpful to cut the costs associated with traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
“The achievement of long-term success will not depend on having the biggest branch network in the future,” said Thomas Gottstein, head of Credit Suisse’s Swiss Universal Bank (SUB) unit. He did not say anything specific about the closing of branches.
He went on to say that priorities were shifting in the industry.
“Instead, having the best digital offering — combined with access to advice from any location and the best service quality — will be the deciding factor,” he said.
Credit Suisse is starting a new business initiative called Direct Banking on Sept 1. The new area is meant for the bank’s retail and commercial customers. It will also move its Swiss investment banking operations into a different unit.
The investments into digital will be “in the high three-digit million range,” the bank said, and will go to the hiring of advisors for clients, marketing and sponsorships, among other things.
The bank also said that it wanted to expand its phone advisory service and “the provision of personal advice in the regional network of branches.”
The bank said it would have new information on the initiative by the beginning half of 2020.
The Direct Banking division will have about 1 million retail and 60,00 commercial clients. It would have upwards of 500 employees and will be headed by Mario Crameri, the bank said.