Online banking in Germany has become a firmly established channel offered by virtually all 
banks. It should be noted that this is true online banking, not just electronic bill payment with 
bank selected merchants. The number of online banking clients is projected to increase further, 
whereas the number of branches has decreased and will continue to do so in the future. But, there 
is no doubt that branches will remain important for customers (Figure 20). 
FIGURE 20  Online and Offline Trends in the German Banking Sector 
50,000
50
45,000
45
40,000
40
35,000
35
rs
s
30,000
e
e
30
s
ch
 u
25,000
25
n
ran
20,000
B
20
millio
15,000
15
10,000
10
5,000
5
0
0
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
B ranches
On line banking users in Germany
On line users in Germany
Source: DB Research September 2002, with forecasts for 2003 to 2005. 
In spite of the huge number of online banking users, German financial institutions, just as in 
many other industrialized nations, have difficulties migrating their customers towards  pure  
online users. Multi channel approaches, therefore, will play an important role in banking even in 
the future. This means an overall increase of costs instead of the expected cost reduction. This is 
also valid for brokerages where the number of multi channel clients will grow faster than the 
number of pure online brokerage clients (Figure 21).
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