Comdirect does well despite low interest rates

Comdirect does well despite low interest rates

The online bank comdirect performed well last year despite low interest rates and the reluctance of its customers to make securities transactions. Profits rose by 42 percent to approximately 93 million euros, as the commerzbank subsidiary announced in quickborn and frankfurt on tuesday. Weaknesses in the day-to-day business were offset mainly by the sale of its shares in the credit card provider visa europe.

Around one-third of profit came from sales. In contrast, the core business yielded less than in 2015: both savings and loans and fee income, for example from securities trading, crumbled. However, comdirect is not alone in facing these problems: the low interest rate environment and political uncertainties are causing problems for the entire sector.

But the bank made gains with customers. "Comdirect has never grown so much since it was founded," said CEO arno walter. The total number of customers has risen by 127,000 to 3.117 million – the number of both private and business customers has increased. Customer assets under management increased by 10.3 billion euros to a record 75.7 billion euros.

A major data breach in the summer ultimately went smoothly for the bank. There were only a "handful" of redundancies, said bank CEO walter. The issue is closed. In july, a faulty software update led to major problems affecting around 6,500 customers. For example, customers had been given access to comdirect accounts held by third parties.

In the current year, comdirect wants to score points with a new user interface for customers’ securities portfolios and with a so-called digital asset management system, which supports customers in investing money to a greater or lesser extent, depending on their wishes.

Shareholders only benefit to a limited extent from the good news on profits and customer growth. The board of management plans to shorten the dividend. Instead, the money is to be used to strengthen the capital base and make additional acquisitions, such as the recent acquisition of the financial portal and online broker onvista. The result for the final quarter was better than expected, wrote philipp habler of the analyst firm equinet. "The dividend cut, however, has surprised us negatively."


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