Press Release

Considerable decline in interim result at PostFinance

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PostFinance generated earnings before tax (EBT) of 125 million francs in the first half of 2018. That is 247 million francs less than in the first six months of the previous year. This decline was mainly due to a significant drop in income from the interest differential business and to a one-off item in the previous year. This negative development is in line with expectations created by the persistently low interest rates on the money and capital markets, and the trend is set to continue.

At 125 million francs, the interim result (EBT) in accordance with Group IFRS guidelines is down 247 million francs, or 66 percent, on the prior-year period. The decline was principally due to an 82 million franc reduction in net interest income. In addition, 6 million francs of value adjustments on financial investments were recognized in the first half of 2018, whereas reversals of impairment of 14 million francs had been recorded in the same period of the previous year. The result of the prior-year period was also impacted by one-off gains from the sale of two equity portfolios amounting to 109 million francs.

Income from the interest differential business has been declining for a number of years due to the low, and in some cases even negative, interest rates on the national and international financial markets, and the associated reduction in profitable investment options. At the same time, interest expense can only be reduced to a limited extent. Consequently, net interest income is collapsing – and the trend looks set to continue in the coming years.  To counter the decline in results, PostFinance has introduced measures in various business units to tap into new sources of income as well as to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Among the non-interest-related business areas, the result from the service and commission business improved by a total of 15 million francs, while net trading income decreased by 18 million francs. Personnel expenses fell by 7 million francs.

Customer asset fee: lower threshold for wealthy private customers

The lack of profitable investment opportunities and lending prohibition mean that PostFinance remains obliged to hold a proportion of its customer deposits as liquidity at the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The negative interest that PostFinance has to pay on its sight deposit balance at the SNB which exceeds a certain threshold is partly passed on to business customers and wealthy private customers in the form of a customer asset fee. Despite this control measure, it received more than 3.6 billion francs of customer deposits in the past 12 months.

PostFinance therefore has no alternative but to reduce the threshold for the customer asset fee for private customers from the previous level of 1 million francs to 500,000 francs as at 1 October 2018. PostFinance introduced individual customer thresholds for business customers back in 2015. This measure will be applied even more consistently in future. The overwhelming majority of private and business customers will continue to be exempt from the customer asset fee.

The customer asset fee remains unchanged at 1 percent of the account balance which exceeds the threshold. It can be avoided by investing assets above the threshold, for example in funds or other securities.

Contact

Johannes Möri, Media Spokesperson, 079 354 08 39

Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
First half 2018
First half 2017
Full-year 2017
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Operating profit (EBIT, CHF million)
First half 2018
146
First half 2017
387
Full-year 2017
543
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Earnings before tax (EBT, CHF million)
First half 2018
125
First half 2017
372
Full-year 2017
463
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Operating income
First half 2018
683
First half 2017
913
Full-year 2017
1'693
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Number of customers (in thousands)
First half 2018
2'876
First half 2017
2'934
Full-year 2017
2'890
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Number of customer accounts (in thousands)
First half 2018
4'797
First half 2017
4'814
Full-year 2017
4'809
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Customer assets (CHF million)
First half 2018
122’430
First half 2017
117'684
Full-year 2017
119'797
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Customer assets in partner solutions (CHF million)
First half 2018
10’167
First half 2017
9'065
Full-year 2017
9’968
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Mortgages (CHF million) 1
First half 2018
5’750
First half 2017
5'504
Full-year 2017
5’650
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Development of customer deposits (CHF million)
First half 2018
2’476
First half 2017
-2’214
Full-year 2017
-611
Selected key figures for PostFinance Ltd
Headcount (FTEs) 2
First half 2018
3’377
First half 2017
3’508
Full-year 2017
3’474


1 In cooperation with partner banks.
2 FTEs = full-time equivalents. Average expressed in terms of full-time equivalents. Headcount at PostFinance parent company.