PostFinance's history stretches back over a century. In this time, we grew from a post and girocheque service to a fully-fledged retail financial institution.
Private and cantonal banks were no longer able to provide enough cash to meet the needs of the Swiss economy. To remedy this problem, the National Council of Basel and Colonel Carl Koechlin along with five co-signees submitted a motion. This was the cornerstone for the introduction of a "post and girocheque service".
For the effective performance of payment transactions, the dense Post Office network virtually imposed itself as the ideal solution. There were already about 3000 access points across Switzerland. Carl Koechlin opened the first Post cheque account at the Post cheque office in Basel.
In the wake of the 1930s economic crisis, interest rates dropped to very low levels. At the end of 1949, the interest earned was only 0.2%, a meaningless amount for many account holders. Since it still involved work to calculate, the interest on postal cheque credit balances was discontinued.
The introduction of the Deposit Form with Reference Number Procedure (VESR) was a Milestone achievement. It was to shape vouchered payment transactions in Switzerland up to the present day and anchored PostFinance's position in the market. Since 1996, this service has been called ISR.
Postcard followed on from the POSTOMAT PLUS Card and blue, guaranteed Postcheque. Launched in 1984, the blue, guaranteed Postcheque, allowed cash withdrawals from post offices in Europe and Japan. The POSTOMAT PLUS Card was put into service for the first time at Shoppyland Schönbühl in 1988. With its magnetic strip and chip, it hugely facilitated cashless payments.
The launch of the three yellow funds was done in collaboration with the Swiss Bank Corporation (today: UBS). Today PostFinance boasts seven of its own funds: Funds 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, as well as Fonds Global and Suisse. Since 2002, PostFinance has also offered a selection of mutual funds of other providers.
Under the reform PostFinance had a legal obligation to achieve returns consistent with the market and to guarantee the security of assets. The abolition of the limit on interest provided the basis for a market standard for paying interest on customer deposits in postal and deposit accounts.
In 2003, together with UBS AG, PostFinance brought to market Yellow Mortgages and the Yellow Pension Account 3a. This marked PostFinance's mutation into a fully-fledged retail financial institution. Since 2008, PostFinance has also been offering additional mortgages in conjuction with the Münchener Hypothekenbank eG.
2005 saw PostFinance taking over UBS's "paper-based" payment transactions. This meant that the volume of vouchers increased by 30% overnight. At the same time, 21 employees came over to PostFinance from UBS. Today, PostFinance also ensures the payment transactions of the Cantonal Banks of Glarus, Tessin and Fribourg as well as Bank CIC (Switzerland).
PostFinance was the first Swiss financial institution to use two entirely independent locations for its electronic systems. At a new datacentre in Zofingen, some 230 jobs were created to process some of PostFinance's vouchers. Most of the employees come from Berne and Lucerne. The relocation ensured a significant increase in the safety of our IT infrastructure.
With its vested benefits account, the Rendita Freizügigkeitsstiftung (vested benefits foundation) guarantees that your occupational pension provision is maintained in accordance with the Federal law on occupational pension provision (BVG) and the Federal law on vesting in pension plans (FzG).
PostFinance was the first financial institution to offer a free application with a payment function for iPhones. It allows users to find the closest Post ATMs, PostFinance subsidiaries and post offices as well as the display of real-time stock exchange information. In 2011, the Android version followed and the well-known services grew to include by the most important e-finance services. With the function Scan+Pay, deposit forms can be scanned and payments made.
2011 saw Swiss Post - and along with it PostFinance - receive Directly Supervised Financial Intermediary status (DSFI). As such PostFinance is subject to full supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) in terms of the Anti-Money Laundering Act's provisions even before PostFinance's transformation into a public limited company.
Since June 2013, PostFinance has been a public limited company under special law and a subsidiary of Swiss Post Ltd. PostFinance Ltd is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and has been granted a licence in accordance with the Banking Act. The PostFinance Ltd Board of Directors is the highest committee of PostFinance Ltd.
Swissquote and PostFinance are establishing a long-term strategic partnership in online trading. Swissquote will operate as a trading platform for PostFinance from autumn 2015, handling stock exchange orders placed by PostFinance customers in e-trading. According to the partnership agreement, PostFinance will also acquire a 5% equity investment in the capital of Swissquote.