Discussion Papers

Dieter Elixmann

Sparen in Deutschland: Präferenzveränderungen und ihre Bedeutung für die Deutsche Bundespost POSTBANK

Nr. 77 / Dezember 1991 Summary Under the terms of the recent structural reform of the Deutsche Bundespost (DBP) the POSTBANK encompassing the postal banking activities of the DBP is obliged to break even and to participate in competition (§ 4 Postal Constitution Act). The POSTBANK therefore has to meet more and more the requirements which competition in the financial markets brings about. The present paper focuses on the structural features of the market for savings products in the FRG, analyses their changes during the past two decades and deals with the position of the POSTBANK in the savings market. The main topic of the study are changes of preferences of private households for alternative financial assets. It is conducted both from a demand oriented point of view and a supply-oriented one. The latter centers on Sparkassen, Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, life insurances, investment funds etc. and trends in the asset-mix of their specific clients. The tendencies in the savings market finally are analyzed with respect to their effects for the POSTBANK's deposit business until now confined to savings and demand deposits, respectively. Private households account for very significant contributions to macroeconomic saving and new capital formation throughout the past two decades. The past 20 years exhibit substantial structural changes in the savings market of the FRG. There is an unambiguous tendency towards forms of assets with a higher return; capital owners, however, prefer relative riskless assets. The decrease in the significance of assets with a low return and the increasing significance of savings products with higher return results from preference changes of the vast majority of savers. The POSTBANK basically has been able to hold its market position in the fields of savings and demand deposits, respectively, throughout the 70's and 80's. Compared to the entire deposit business of all banking groups, however, POSTBANK was only able to hold its market share during the 70's; since the end of the 70's there is a clear tendency towards losses in its market share. Likewise POSTBANK more and more accounts for a lesser share in new capital formation in the FRG. Our findings give rise to substantial doubts over POSTBANK's future economic viability if their acitivities persist to be confined to market segments loosing significance. Only German language version available.

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