News and guides on credit, leasing, savings and banking services in Switzerland

PostFinance will enter the credit and mortgage market

So far, the Federal Council has decided to give up and agree to partially revise the Post Office Organization Act. As a result, PostFinance should be able to grant loans and mortgages from 1 January 2019. The decision comes at a time when the bank has encountered significant difficulties. Steps will be taken to build a sufficiently solid financing base and to be able to offer a new loan offer that changes the situation for clients.

Selling mortgages and loans is a lucrative market that PostFinance has long coveted. But until now, his licence did not allow him to enter the borrowing market, which should be possible in the future. At any rate, this is the wish of the Federal Council, which is also in favour of opening up the shareholding structure of Swiss Post’s banking subsidiary.

Hansruedi Köng, Director of PostFinance AG, is delighted with this decision, but without making him euphoric because the road is long. Indeed, Parliament has yet to decide on a law. He underlines his satisfaction that the Federal Council has noted the urgency of lifting the ban on loans and mortgages.

If the Federal Council wants to allow PostFinance to enter the credit and mortgage market, PostFinance is in trouble. Unable to generate sufficient income since 2008 due to low interest rates, Swiss Post’s banking subsidiary lost 58,000 customers out of a total of 2.88 million this year. Customers who could be seduced by a new mortgage and credit offer.

But on the political side, on the left and right, the arrival of a new player on the already saturated credit and mortgage market is causing teeth to grind. According to Olivier Feller, national PLR advisor from Vaud, this is an astonishing proposal because the credit and mortgage sector is exposed to fierce competition. And to add:

I do not see why a state-owned company like the Post Office would start competing with private actors who are doing their job well.

While the left does not object to Swiss Post extending its activities to loans, credits, loans and mortgages, it refuses to allow the Federal Council to open up the capital to private investors. According to the Waldensian PS, if this scenario is realized, then the situation will take the same path as usual. When the Post Office is in difficulty, the State will have to pay, and in case of profits to be made, it will be the private sector that would win the bid and the employees who would suffer by being dismissed.

It is now up to the federal government to prepare legislation. And in view of the reactions, the PostFinance reform still promises some debate. The yellow giant’s arrival on the credit and mortgage market will take several years to come about anyway, step by step.