The future of PostFinance
On 5 September 2018, the Federal Council announced that it will permit PostFinance to issue credit and mortgages in future. At the same time, it is discussing opening up the shareholder base of PostFinance with the Confederation or Swiss Post as the majority shareholder.
In line with this new strategic focus, PostFinance must meet additional equity requirements for systemically important domestic banks according to the Federal Council, mainly by building up equity and without state guarantees.
The Federal Council instructed the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) to draw up a consultation draft for the partial revision of the Postal Services Organization Act in association with the Federal Department of Finance (FDF).
Swiss Post welcomes the Federal Council’s policy decision and the political process now initiated as a result. As before, PostFinance finds itself in a difficult situation: in a market environment with low and in some cases negative interest rates, revenue from interest operations is continuously declining at PostFinance. The lending prohibition makes it impossible for PostFinance to stabilize its interest margins in this context. PostFinance makes a large contribution to financing the universal service from its profits. If its profits erode further, this will also affect the profits of the Swiss Post Group.
The Federal Council’s policy decision triggers reactions
The Federal Council’s policy decision regarding the future development of PostFinance has sent reverberations through the political world. In light of this, the former department head of DETEC, Doris Leuthard, stated her position in parliament to questions relating to the potential risks to universal service and the competitive situation on the market.