How online banking will shape the future of the german banking branch infrastructure

  • Florian Niehues (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Over the past 10 years, the increasing degree of digitization has been a major driver for a far-reaching wave of closures within the German bank branch network. The emergence of online banks represented an innovative business model to benefit from these developments. Traditional banks reacted to this by improving their own online platforms. Today online banks and online banking have become an important part of the German banking system. The influence of this dynamic is also reflected in customer demand. The traditional bank branch as a one-stop-shop seems antiquated, visitor frequency is declining, and more and more customers are demanding the ability to carry out their banking transactions at any time and in any place via various digital channels. The present study attempts to provide an answer to the question of how online banking will affect the German branch network in the future. To this end, an evaluation of historical data on the number of branches was combined with a trend analysis based on various surveys and studies. To provide a reliable forecast of the future development of the branch network, a market model was developed with the support of experts. The results show that a halving of the branch network can be expected by 2030. A subsequent scenario analysis has shown that the business model of the individual branches will also change. Advisory centers and small so-called lifestyle locations are expected to replace the traditional business model in the long term.
Date of Award12 Oct 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorAndré de Almeida Pinho (Supervisor)


  • Online banking
  • German banking system
  • Retail banking
  • Bank branch network
  • Bank branch
  • Online banks
  • FinTechs


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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