The Bank is continuously in dialogue with its Stakeholders. In addition to the obvious topics such as the modernisation of client contacts, the further development of digital payment options or human resources and health management which the Bank publishes on an annual basis in this report, new key topics arose in particular on account of the Corona virus pandemic. As reported below, both digital client contacts and the use of digital payment option intensified due to the pandemic. No other new topics occurred in 2020 which would be worthy of reporting.
The client is, per se, still at the heart of all of the Bank’s activities, due to OLB’s business model which is strongly oriented on personal advice. Clients may decide how they wish to contact the Bank: the branch office is the correct point of contact for competent and personal advice; questions can be answered and services provided quickly over the phone or clients may use online banking or OLB’s Banking App for conducting their everyday bank transactions. The Bank’s telephone client services answers about 2,500 calls each day – temporarily even more during peak times or in case of special occasions. The contents of these calls are, in the great majority of the cases, subjects like payment transactions, support in online banking, agreements on consulting appointments or even complaints about measures taken in special locations, short-time waiting periods or the availability of the telephone client service. Such telephone client service is a very good and customer-friendly medium, in particular for older clients since they may use all relevant services available for their banking transactions by legitimising them from the comfort of their home. In times of the Corona virus pandemic and in view of branch offices which were opened to a restricted extent as a consequence of such pandemic, our telephone client service also proved to be a very positive channel.
The digitalisation of payment transactions requires new payment options, and client behaviours are changing dynamically as well: visits to their local branch are declining, online banking is on the rise. OLB therefore further consequently aligns its payment transaction offers on the different and changing needs of its clients. As regards locations, the Bank bundles its consulting in competence centres and larger branch offices located in its core area of North West Germany. The strategy resulted in the closure of locations and some branches were transformed to self-service branches also during the year under review. The majority of clients recognises this focus to consulting services and uses numerous alternatives for obtaining cash which are available today, such as having cash paid out at the cash desk of supermarkets or in petrol stations or in DIY markets. This decline of branch offices is criticised mostly in locations which need to be closed completely.
The Bank tries to react to wishes and suggestions of its employees. Corporate health management and offers for further education are expanded continuously. OLB has, in the meantime, even introduced a new form of dialogue with its employees and officers. Different to former classic assessment discussions which consisted mainly of a simple review of the performance of staff members, such discussions now comprise an assessment of the current performance of the employee, a recognition of their potential for assuming other tasks and the preparation of individual steps for development. This results in a holistic assessment of the employees.