Discussion Papers

Wolfgang Elsenbast

Darstellung und Analyse der Finanzdienste von La Poste
Nr. 158 / März 1996


The success of La Poste on the french financial market is of interest for the negotiations concerning the future relations between Deutsche Post AG and Deutsche Postbank AG. The french Post Office has stabilized his relatively important market share in the field of financial services and seems to guarantee a better usage of its counters network. At first glance, these facts are seeming to be persuasive. But for the aim of an international comparison between (former) postal banks a deeper economic analysis is called for. This analysis should include a sufficient description of the development of La Poste´s financial services, its obligations and the structure of the relevant parts of the financial market in France.

First, it has to be noticed that La Poste is not a bank. It is offering financial services for the government and different financial institutions. It is facing political obligations e.g. concerning the distribution of the financial products of the national savings bank. Further, La Poste is restricted in the field of loans. The financial services of La Poste are nearly independant in the provision of services.

Due to the large number of sales, La Poste can guarantee a better usage of its counter services. But it has to be taken into account that the number and the structure of post offices and agencies is fixed by the government (for the years 1996 and 1997 La Poste promised not to close post offfices). Hence, La Poste has not the possibility to optimise its network.

La Poste is very busy and successful in the marketing of their services by launching new products. As a consequence it stabilized its market share (in the core business the market share increased) during the last years. Unfortunately, due to the non-existence of an adequate cost accounting system the deduction that the impressive presence on the market reflects a good economic performance can´t be made. Further, the performance of La Poste can´t be compared with the performance of other (former) postal banks because the market conditions for La Poste in France are very specific. (i) La Poste had very early the possibility to offer more complex financial services. (ii) Only La Poste and the savings bank can offer Livret A saving accounts which are facing a favourable tax treatment. (iii) The market for life insurances is booming in France. La Poste has competent business partners in this market. In difference to Gemany live insurances in France are mainly of a coupon policy and retirement scheme type.

Only German language version available.

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