Commerzbank: Spearheading the digital revolution in banking

Edith Weymayr explains how the German powerhouse is remodelling its processes to better support SMEs

October 3, 2017

Commerzbank is the backbone of Germany’s mittelstand – and its digital transformation strategy, Commerzbank 4.0, is helping the bank develop its multi-channel approach to helping its customers. Edith Weymayr explains how the bank is updating and adapting all its processes, and creating new products and services to better serve Germany’s evolving small and medium enterprises.

World Finance: Commerzbank 4.0 is the German powerhouse’s digital transformation strategy. Joining me is Edith Weymayr.

First and foremost for Commerzbank are your clients, so how are you working with them – first of all to understand their needs, and then to fulfil those needs?

Edith Weymayr: The digitalisation of our business does not mean that we offer fancy products to our clients, and at the same time keep the old style manual processes in the back office. It’s about end-to-end, front-to-back, digital solutions, in order to significantly simplify and improve our internal processes.

Digital transformation is not a matter of digitalisation, automation of all relevant processes. We also aspire to be at the forefront of new developments. To follow the trend and to recognise permanent changes in the banking sector.

World Finance: Can you give me some examples of the changes you’re seeing, and the new products and services that you’re offering?

Edith Weymayr: First of all there is our treasury management system. This is a system that offers CFOs a powerful comprehensive platform to organise their cash concerns. And it is connected to our Commerzbank banking portal, where regular updates are provided so that this system is always up to date.

Another example is our photoTAN scanner app, where our customers are able to authenticate payment transactions from their smartphone. Or our FX LiveTrader platform, which is a digital online foreign exchange trading platform, where transactions can be concluded with one click, and in addition this system provides information and prices for more than 100 currency pairs.

World Finance: How are you transforming your own internal operations?

Edith Weymayr: We want to be more efficient. We want to digitalise our processes and our product offering. And we will do this by digitalising 80 percent of our processes.

The main pillar of this initiative is our digital campus, where we bring together dedicated teams from all segments of Commerzbank, which work together in agile projects in order to digitalise all processes.

World Finance: Tell me more about the way you manage those client relationships; because they are incredibly important to Commerzbank; what’s your strategy?

Edith Weymayr: It is very important to us that we remain a close partner; that we keep this close relationship with our clients.

We feel convinced that this is the right approach towards our clients, a multi-channel approach via digital solutions for every day processes and the personal relationship with our client.

The proof for this approach is that since 2011 we were able to increase the customer satisfaction by 27 percent.

World Finance: Commerzbank is the backbone of Germany’s mittelstand, so what challenges are these customers specifically facing?

Edith Weymayr: First of all, a growing organisation and demographic pressure, which may lead to skill shortage. And this skill shortage could affect growth patterns.

By conducting surveys among 2,000 corporate customers in Germany – which we call business owners view – with the result of these surveys we provide a platform for our customers to change their ideas, maybe solutions concerning these topics.

Another challenge is of course the climate change and resource scarcity, which could affect the supply chain of our customer.

We advise our clients on energy efficiency. We are one of the largest funders of renewable energy.

One of the challenges all companies are facing at the moment is of course digitalisation and industry 4.0. We are offering our clients an open dialogue, and our digital product offering is linked with the IT system of our clients. These technical solutions will be crucial for the future of our customers.

World Finance: And how does Commerzbank ensure a simple, reliable client experience outside of Germany’s borders?

Edith Weymayr: First of all, if we look across the border, we offer a pan-European network to our clients. We maintain about 200 branches in 14 European countries. But our international clients, they expect that we act and think on a global level. We maintain well-established relationships with our international clients. And they’re now about 60,000 clients around the world.

At the same time, we know that banking even internationally is people’s business, and that’s the reason why we exported our successful relationship model abroad.

In our foreign branches are multi-lingual relationship managers who accompany our clients locally. They have deep knowledge about what’s going on, about the advantages maybe about the risks, and they give advice: how to export, and how to move on the ground.

In addition, they coordinate the global client service team and if necessary they involve product specialists.

World Finance: Edith, thank you very much.

Edith Weymayr: It was a pleasure for me, thank you.