In the first three months of 2018, PostFinance generated operating profit (EBIT) of 96 million francs, 140 million francs less than the result recorded during the same period the previous year. The decline is mainly due to one-off items last year and significantly lower income from the interest differential business. This development is in line with expectations created by the persistently low interest rates on the money and financial markets, and the trend is set to continue.
Taken in isolation, PostFinance regards the quarterly result of 96 million francs as respectable. However, it represents a decrease of 140 million francs in comparison with the result of 236 million francs generated in the first quarter of 2017. In the previous year, one-off gains from the sale of equity portfolios amounting to 109 million francs had a positive effect. In addition to these non-recurring items, net interest income fell by 40 million francs. This was due to the low and in some cases negative interest rates on the international financial markets and the reduction in profitable investment options. As a result of this situation, income from the interest differential business has been declining for a number of years, while options for reducing costs are limited. In the medium term, there is no positive reversal of this trend in sight. “The lower quarterly result is in line with our expectations based on the market situation. It confirms our view that PostFinance must increase its cost efficiency, diversify its sources of income and continue its transformation into a digital powerhouse,” says Hansruedi Köng, CEO of PostFinance.
Among the non-interest-related business areas, the result from the service and commission business improved by a total of 12 million francs, while net trading income decreased by 6 million francs. Operating expenses rose by 3 million francs. From January to March 2018, PostFinance processed 273 million transactions – 9 million more than during the same period the previous year. The number of customers placing their trust in PostFinance has remained stable at around 2.9 million.