Financing e-cars: how banks can benefit

Banks play a key role in the sustainable transformation of the economy and society. Ulrich Hoyer, Partner at zeb, and Dr. Maciej Meder, Executive Manager at zeb, explain in an interview why ESG financing could soon be a pillar of income for banks.

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Are customers even interested in sustainable financing?
 

Ulrich Hoyer: We wanted to know this too, so we conducted a study in which more than 1,000 retail customers of banks throughout Germany were asked about ESG financing, including leasing. The result is clear: 54 percent of respondents are interested in sustainable financing, especially in the area of e-mobility – this may include different products such as loans for the purchase of an electric car.

Dr. Maciej Meder: There is particular interest among younger cohorts and high-income consumers – two target groups that are highly attractive for banks. Of the 18 to 50-year-olds, 63 percent are open to sustainable financing offers. Among consumers with a monthly net household income of EUR 4,000 or more, the figure is 64 percent.

 

The area of e-mobility is the greatest source of financing interest. But do those who are interested in these products also seek advice from their main bank?

Ulrich Hoyer: First of all, 28 percent of those surveyed intend to seek advice on financing or leasing electric vehicles in the next 24 months. Of course, online platforms such as mobile.de, Check24 or heycar also offer information on financing options for e-cars, as do the websites and branches of car dealers. But the primary port of call for consumers is their own main bank. Well over half of those surveyed – 54 percent, to be precise – trust their bank the most. This figure surprised us. Traditional banks are also in the lead when it comes to online advisory services: 52 percent of potential e-car buyers prefer this sales channel over alternative ones. Online platforms are among the favored options for 49 percent and car dealer websites for 42 percent. To sum it up, our study reveals significant business potential for banks in the field of e-mobility.

Dr. Maciej Meder: There is also untapped potential in areas beyond e-mobility. Other products with sustainable financing requirements that consumers intend to learn more about in the future are loans for heating and solar systems and for energy upgrade measures on buildings. One in four to five consumers has this wish. In this context, it is also important to provide information about public funding programs, such as those offered by KfW and the Federal Office for Export and Economic Control (Bundesamt für Ausfuhr und Wirtschaftskontrolle, BAFA) in Germany. A fifth of Germans are also interested in those. People’s expectations of optimal financing increasingly include calculations of the carbon emissions associated with their purchase. Many banks now also offer this service. And last but not least, advisors can provide information about the necessary insurance for sustainable systems, such as solar panels. Main banks thus become a one-stop shop for holistic ESG consulting.

 

Have you quantified the concrete business potential for banks? 

Dr. Maciej Meder: Based on the results of the study and our market models, we were able to estimate the business potential. According to the report, the financing volume that banks can achieve through consumer financing of electric vehicles alone is growing steadily and could reach around EUR 53 billion by 2030. In 2022, it was only EUR 4.6 billion. Based on this rapidly increasing market volume, we expect earnings to the amount of EUR 1.0 to 1.5 billion in 2030 from private e-car financing – including leasing – alone.

Ulrich Hoyer: To leverage this potential, banks need to develop the necessary skills and new products and become a relevant part of the customer journey. Then they can approach customers in a targeted manner and retain their loyalty. Sustainable financing advice must be understood as a full-service package. In any case, consumers are interested in more environmentally and climate-friendly products. By providing credit, loan and leasing agreements for these purchases, banks make a significant contribution to the sustainable transformation of the economy and society. In short, ESG financing is a growth market that needs to be tapped into.

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