This is based on the E-Ident system used in the comdirect app, which is unique in Germany. The innovative comdirect app featuring an innovative chat transfer function was launched in the beginning of the year 2018 and was continuously enhanced during the course of the year. In addition to chat and voice transfers, the comdirect app now offers securities trades via chat in a very easy way.
Organic customer growth more than doubled compared to previous year
The customer base in the core B2C business grew by 10% to 2.52m in 2018, an increase of 236k. This was more than double the customer growth recorded in the previous year. The net figure of new customers in 2017 was 103k (excluding the customers added as a result of the acquisition of onvista bank in 2017). Assets under control also increased by 5% to €62.1bn. While the deposit volume went up 16% to €25.4bn, the portfolio volume fell 1% to €36.6bn due to significant price losses in the securities markets. The negative market value effects (€–6.1bn) were almost entirely compensated for by the high level of net fund inflows to custody accounts (€5.7bn).
Sharp rise in net interest income – net commission income at record levels
comdirect increased the income in its core B2C business by 4% to €334.3m (previous year: €320.6m). The main source of income is net commission income, which at €206.3m exceeded the previous year’s value (€194.2m) by 6%. The increase is primarily due to growth. At 21.9m, the number of B2C trades in 2018 was 27% above the previous year (17.2m). Net interest income after provisions for possible loan losses saw a significant 21% rise to €117.0m (previous year: €96.3m) despite the persistent zero-interest rate environment. This was in particular due to an increase in the deposit and credit volume.
Rise in administrative expenses due to growth investments
Administrative expenses in the core B2C business went up by 17% to €279.6m (previous year: €239.3m). This increase was primarily driven by higher other administrative expenses as a consequence of additional growth investments in new products, technological development and measures for attracting customers and increasing the amount of assets under control.
The pre-tax profit in the core B2C business came to €54.7m in 2018 (previous year: €81.2m). The discontinued activities (ebase) generated pre-tax profit of €16m (previous year: €13.6m). The sale of subsidiary ebase to the FNZ Group was agreed in July 2018 and remains subject to the approval of the supervisory authorities and fulfilment of contractually agreed closing conditions. The closing of the transaction is expected in the first half of 2019.
Dividends stable at 25 cents per share
The after-tax profit of the comdirect group amounts to €50.4m, compared with €71.5m in the previous year. The dividend to be proposed at the annual general meeting is 25 cents per share, as in the previous two years. This would correspond to a dividend payout ratio of around 70% (previous year: 49%).
Use of AI technology supports future growth
„We aim to keep growing in 2019”, said Walter regarding the outlook. Growth is being driven by marketing initiatives and the launch of more innovative and particularly customer-friendly services. In order to continue making the business model more scaleable and cost-efficient, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is to be deployed to a greater extent. This includes hybrid chatbot models and an intelligent voice dialogue system which support our customer care agents, and robotic process automation (RPA) which allows highly standardised processing procedures to be completed in an automated fashion.
An interactive PDF document (e.g. with page- and cross-references as well as links to the IR website) of the annual report is now available at www.comdirect.de/egb18. On its path to become a “paperless bank” comdirect solely provides a digital annual report from this year onwards.