Should Apple be privatized

Privatization - The postfinance drama is far from over

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Author: An analysis by Matthias Pfander

The state is not a good entrepreneur. This can be seen in the example of the Post. Quick decisions to meet corporate responsibility are impossible. Even more so in a complex case like the post office and its financial institution.

The regulatory fall into sin should not take place, but Postfinance should be completely privatized. The consultation process showed that partial privatization would have been politically impossible. This would mean that the state would still have remained the dominant owner via the post office. Owner of a company that operates in the highly competitive financial market. A no-go.

But the privatization that is now being sought, in which the majority of Postfinance will go into third hands, is not a liberation. On the contrary, he fundamentally questions the continued existence of Postfinance as a structure.

Too many rather than too few banks in Switzerland

There are several reasons for this: Despite ongoing consolidation, there are still too many rather than too few banks in Switzerland vying for the thinner flow of income. And the disruptive power of digitization has not even fully developed in Switzerland. The country where “old school banking” is still widespread and many institutes have put up a digital facade in order to make a fit impression. As really the foundation to modernize the underlying processes.

And as long as interest rates are so low and the banks can hardly earn any money with the interest differential business on savings accounts, the interest of potential buyers in Postfinance will also be limited. Customers who mainly park their money in the account cost more than they bring in.

The further future of Postfinance remains even more uncertain. Just like the further legislative process that is supposed to make privatization possible in the first place. First of all, the Federal Council wants to have proposals drawn up this year as to what exactly should happen in the event of a majority privatization with the public service areas of payment transactions and basic services. This means that it will take some time before the proposal even comes into parliament. At the same time, it may well be that a referendum will be held against the newly revised Postal Act.

"Fair weather strategy" takes revenge

So will move into the country month after month, while Postfinance's earnings situation is becoming more and more precarious. Because: It is currently not foreseeable that interest rates will move upwards and thus get the interest rate differential business going again. And until the Postfinance question has been completely resolved, the institute will not be allowed to operate on the credit and mortgage market.

However, the great damage was done much earlier. At the time when Postfinance had to keep practically the entire Post Group afloat with its bubbling profits. That was a "fair weather strategy" that is now taking revenge - and the very existence of the former pearl of income is threatened.

Matthias Pfander

Reporter business editor

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Matthias Pfander has been working in business journalism for 20 years, since mid-2017 as a reporter and planner in the business department of SRF TV. Before that, he worked for the Tages-Anzeiger and the Blick Group, among others.

Tagesschau, January 20th, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

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  • Comment from Verena Schär (thoughtful)
    "Their very existence is threatened." I don't see it that way. Anyone who has always known PostFinance knows very well that it is digitally very, very well and very, very securely positioned. I have seen the whole development from the yellow booklet to the online service. The way PostFinance is organized, it is not a starter as they want to make it palatable to us here. I rate PostFinance as a very fine, easily digestible, fine main course. The table is set.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Verena Schär (thoughtful)
    PostFinance should receive all the privileges of a bank. At least 51% owned by the Swiss Confederation. The remaining percentages can be drawn by any Swiss citizen. A split of 25% could also be subscribed by Swiss citizens, 24% could be subscribed by investors. No foreign stock holdings.
    Paying off the pandemic costs by selling PostFinance would be reprehensible. So please put a stop to it.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Ueli Lang (weekly resident)
      Why should the federal government open a bank in an already overbanked country? And why Postfinance, after the golden years are finally in the past, will eventually pay off if federally owned. The fact is that we are dreaming of the old days here! It will never come back and there is no longer any profit to be distributed, the highest branches to be closed and costs to be cut! Otherwise the taxpayer will simply receive inefficient structures, which makes zero sense!
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. answer from Verena Schär (thoughtful)
      @ Lang For your info.

      PostFinance has been a public limited company under private law and a subsidiary of Swiss Post Ltd since June 2013. PostFinance AG is subject to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and has a license in accordance with the Banking Act.

      The next step is that it can work according to the requirements as for the banks.

      Should it fall into the hands of the GLP / FDP / SVP allies?
      NO
      Agree agree to the comment
    3. answer from Ueli Lang (weekly resident)
      @ V. Schär
      It is true, but it does not mean that the booth earns one franc. The dear Postfinance has to do that on the market and it really pissed off customers with the introduction of a 60.- account fee. Since Postfinance was and is not efficient, the competition is digging the water, in other words the money, motto more for less, or simply better services. Getting the old boat afloat, in which hardly any investments have been made for decades, will cost a lot of tax money!
      Agree agree to the comment
    4. Show answers
  • Comment from Peter Zuber (Hä nuuh)
    Mr. Pfander expresses his not entirely objective opinion here.
    The banking business is anything but highly competitive but rather boring. But it is based on trust, which Postfinanz (PF) enjoys to a great extent.
    The fact that the granting of a full banking license should only be possible in the event of privatization is a dream of the mighty competition who will be the first to buy into the PF.
    The PF is not sluggish but is being shot ready for storm by political lobbying.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Ueli Lang (weekly resident)
      Postfinance is not sluggish, it has only been bled to death by the profit transfers! It was plundered for the benefit of the federal treasury, like only companies that fall under the power of locusts. The effect is that Postfinance is no longer competitive in today's financial services market. Ergo either the ship will be made afloat again with the help of the federal treasury, or it will be sold! The latter would be smarter because you can't get good money from bad money ...
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers

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