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Postbank branch in Göppingen: Rüffel von der Bafin

Photo: Arnulf Hettrich / IMAGO

Customer complaints about Postbank in recent months have been massive: customers were temporarily unable to access their accounts, direct debits were redeemed incorrectly or not at all, and customer service was difficult to reach. Both the consumer centers and the German financial regulator Bafin received a number of complaints.

Now Bafin boss Mark Branson is reprimanding the institution unusually clearly – normally, the financial supervisory authority does not comment on individual institutions.

"This is unacceptable and extraordinary," Branson said of the service issues. He calls for a swift rectification of the mistakes made by Postbank and its parent company Deutsche Bank in data migration. "Postbank has to solve this quickly," Branson told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, referring to the IT problems of many customers.

The problems are "very unusual. I would even go so far as to say that it is a unique situation when we look at how many complaints there are about a single institute. So it's no longer just an IT migration problem, but there are other profound disruptions in customer service."

Deutsche Bank had successively taken over Postbank since 2009 and is now transferring the data of Postbank customers to Deutsche Bank's systems in a final step.

However, the project called "Unity" had considerable problems, so that customers were temporarily unable to access their accounts and, above all, customer service was hardly available.

It's not about the fact that at Postbank, only online banking doesn't work for two hours, Branson told the newspaper. "It's about essential services that aren't available, coupled with problems reaching customer service. For some customers, this leads to extremely difficult situations.«

There had also been trouble with so-called garnishment protection accounts. A number of customers who are dependent on the funds in such accounts would have to struggle with acute financial problems due to sluggish processes at Postbank, the consumer advice center of North Rhine-Westphalia had criticized. The consumer advocates had demanded an "urgent intervention" of the Bafin.

When asked about possible penalties for the financial group, the Bafin boss said: "I don't want to anticipate possible measures. If it is indicated, they will come."