Discussion Papers

Wolfgang Elsenbast

Kooperation im Schalterbereich der Post - Ein europäischer Vergleich
Nr. 147 / April 1995


Since the separation of the Deutsche Bundespost into three independently operating companies DBP Postdienst (since 1995 Deutsche Post AG), DBP Telekom (since 1995 Deutsche Telekom AG) and DBP Postbank (since 1995 Deutsche Postbank AG) the elaboration of an unanimously accepted contract for the provision of counter services seems to be an ongoing difficulty. Facing the similiarity of technologies and organisa-tional constellations, we investigate the cooperation and the contracts in other European countries. In this paper, the different forms of cooperation in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Danmark and Sweden will be described in Chapter 2.

In Chapter 3, the transactional cost approach will be presented as an appropriate tool for the analysis of contracts. Relevant transactional costs are the costs of finding a contractual agreement, the costs of controlling the quality of service and the costs of contractual adjustments. These transactional costs are mainly influenced by the extent of private information on costs of the counters network, the flexibility of the provider of counter services in terms of changes in demand and costs and finally by the bank´s influence on the provision of counter services. Using the approach, the cooperations will be analysed in Chapter 4.

In Chapter 5, recommendations for the elaboration of an unanimously acceptable contractual agreement will be given. As a consequence of the close relationship between the bank and the counter service provider and of relevant uncertainties especially on the development of demand, the contract should be designed to be in effect for a long period of time and the terms of agreement should be flexible enough to cope with relevant uncertainties. The quality of services should be explicitly described in the contracts. In case of insufficient service provision sanctions should be imposed. These sanctions should influence the providers ambition to provide high quality. The exclusion of other providers of banking services as well as the extent of the bank´s influence on the counter network development are a matter of negotiations and should be reflected in the pricing of services. Pricing of counter services should be market-oriented. We recommend a pricing scheme including three elements: First, an access price element. Second, service prices which reflect the patterns of demand. Third, an investment cost element, which covers the cost of special investments in the range and quality of the provision of banking services (including investments in human capital). Price adjustments should be made following the price-cap principle. Any conflict should be settled without intervention of a public regulator.

Only German language version available.

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