Get ready for the future, go!


Get ready for the future, go!

How do we ensure that we are profitable in the long term? This question has also been a longstanding concern of Sparkasse Münsterland Ost. In the past, the bank already took various transformation measures together with zeb, for example relating to sales strategies in private customer sales. However, the low interest rates are persisting, regulatory requirements continuing to rise, and customers demanding the expansion of digital services. Turning the screws here and there helps in day-to-day business, but in the long term the bank needs holistic change, completely new ideas. “We feel that the world around us is changing ever more rapidly and with it our customers and their expectations,” said Markus Schabel, Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Münsterland Ost. “So our products, services and processes must also change—and ultimately our organization too.”

Shaping instead of just reacting. To this end, Sparkasse Münsterland Ost and zeb initiated the project entitled “Business and operating model of the future”. First, the consultants developed a target picture together with managers of the savings bank: Where do we want to go? What would be the best outcome? From this progressive self-reflection, strategic goals were derived—and also specific measures, for example to expand digitalization and automation.

Urgent Questions 

Customer-centric. Digital. Agile. That is what their vision of the savings bank of the future looks like. The customer is at the center, everything is considered from the customer's point of view and the focus is on their added value. At the same time, regional and media competence remains a distinguishing feature of the savings bank—its strength is an omnichannel offering and in future, completely digitalized and connected channels. The savings bank gives the customer more freedom and shortens internal decision-making paths. For sustainable growth and economic strength through customer business with high potential and high efficiency.

Of course, the visionary target image raises many questions: What structures and services do we need to adapt to ensure that we can actually achieve our high ambitions and offer the customer sustainable added value? Which innovations from the Savings Bank Network will take us forward? What new forms of cooperation do we need to become more agile?

Bringing target images to life

The “Business and operating model of the future” project is redefining Sparkasse Münsterland Ost: with a streamlined organizational structure as the starting point for further transformation and a target gross expenditure margin that is once again well below the margin already planned before the project. For example, one vacant position on the management board was not filled and the number of divisions and units was reduced by around a quarter each as early as October 01, 2018.

“Based on the self-perception we developed and the new structures for the entire company, we then derived target images and capacities for the individual functional areas,” explained Dr. Jörn Stöppel, Head of Corporate Management. “Of course retail sales has slightly different requirements than corporate sales or overall bank management.” In each case, potential growth areas were defined from the customer perspective, while efficiency potentials within the savings bank were also identified. And yes, there is still some way to go in terms of standardization and automation. As a result, the number of employees is to be reduced by around one-sixth in a socially responsible manner over the next five years. It should be emphasized that “outlook discussions” were conducted with all employees for whom a change was to occur due to the organizational structure. Using this instrument, which had already been successfully used in the transformation process of the “Sales strategy of the future” project, it was possible to offer a “dream job” to a large number of employees.

“The economic effects are one thing,” reported Markus Schabel. “But the new target image also includes a transformation of the corporate culture. In order to achieve this transformation, adequate communicative support and professional change management are required.” For this reason, the “MSLO Zukunfts.Lab” (the bank’s own future lab) was also founded as a nucleus for the agile transformation of the savings bank. “With our four co-habitants in the Zukunfts.Lab, we are attempting to kick off new ideas outside of the existing “guard rails”, to think differently and to successively bring this positive enthusiasm for change into the entire company through joint work with colleagues in the sales and specialist departments,” added Markus Schabel.

Encouraging the willingness to change on the part of the management board, managers and employees, consistently driving forward innovations and new ideas, and trying out new forms of cooperation—all this requires courage and a little time. “Through the joint project with zeb, we have already taken an important step towards becoming a savings bank of the future,” Dr. Jörn Stöppel was pleased to say. “There are still a few steps ahead on the path to becoming the customer-centric, digital and agile savings bank that we want to be.”