The head of Apobank is trying to further reduce the costs of the money house. The cost-income ratio is comparatively high at almost 76 percent.
Frankfurt Matthias Schellenberg soon has to make difficult decisions if he wants to do justice to his job at the head of the Apotheker- und Ärztebank (Apobank). He started a good year ago to get more out of the institute’s business model. On Thursday, when he presented the business figures, he cautiously agreed to job cuts.
“We will also talk about personnel costs in the future,” said the 58-year-old in Düsseldorf. First he wants to make the bank processes more efficient, then “implement human resources measures”. Schellenberg did not give details of the scope of possible job cuts.
Schellenberg has been at the helm of the second largest cooperative bank in Germany for a good year. Your customers are considered attractive – reliable and above-average wealthy. But the bank has been struggling with high costs for some time. The largest German cooperative bank is the DZ Bank.
It is already clear that Apobank wants to expand asset management in order to improve the cost-income ratio. At the same time, parts of the corporate customer business will become less important. She also wants to lower her costs. They are comparatively high, even if the bank earned a little more again in 2022.
The number of employees has already fallen significantly. Last year, the Düsseldorf Apobank had around 2,160 employees. Five years earlier there were 400 more.
Lots of changes on the board
The past year has shown that Schellenberg is not afraid of conflict. Four board members left the bank or are about to leave.
Private customer boss Jenny Friese had left the money house abruptly in September. The sudden departure pointed to upheavals within the governing body. Friese had only been a member of the board since the beginning of 2021. The resigned Chief Risk Officer Eckhard Lüdering even accused Schellenberg of a conflict of interest. An expert opinion commissioned by the supervisory board rejected this.
In addition to reducing costs, Schellenberg is also concerned with increasing the assets under management. Apobank wants to double the managed custody account volume of its customers in the medium term, i.e. by 2027, to EUR 20 billion. By 2025 it should be 16 billion euros.
Long-serving board member Holger Wessling, head of controlling until the end of March, also has a new job and will take over as CEO of Sparkasse Rhein-Nahe in the summer. He emphasized on Thursday that his move has nothing to do with the plans for Apobank, which are summarized under the title “Agenda 2025”. It was justified neither in the matter nor in the person of the CEO.
Schellenberg himself changed jobs more often. From 2017 to 2020 he was CEO of the private bank Merck Finck, after which he was briefly a partner at Warburg Bank in Hamburg. He left the financial house after a few months.
Loss of members due to IT bankruptcy
Another goal of Schellenberg is to increase the number of Apobank members. They hold shares in the cooperative money house and are considered particularly loyal customers. In 2022, their number had fallen again, to just under 114,000.
One reason for the decline was the bank’s haphazard IT conversion almost three years ago. The switch to the IT service provider Avaloq from Pentecost 2020 initially failed in parts. In the course of the migration, among other things, transfers and other simple banking services did not run smoothly. Many customers reacted angrily. Schellenberg expects membership to grow in 2023.