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Deutsche Bank and Postbank logo: Frequent complaints

Photo: Federico Gambarini / dpa

Deutsche Bank will not be able to get all the problems at Postbank under control by the end of the year. "We have come a long way in processing the backlog of customer inquiries since the summer – thanks in part to more than 800 additional workers for these tasks," said a Deutsche Bank spokesperson.

However, the processing of the remaining backlogs is complex "and takes more time in some cases," he confirmed in a Handelsblatt report. We will therefore finalize some of these cases at the beginning of 2024."

There were considerable problems with the migration of Postbank's IT – with twelve million customers – to Deutsche Bank's systems – with seven million customers – and customer complaints had piled up. Customers were temporarily unable to access their accounts, customer service was almost unavailable, and direct debits were no longer being honoured. In addition, there was trouble over garnishment protection accounts, in which indebted people can protect a certain amount of assets from seizure so that they have money available for rent and electricity, food and medicine, for example.

Progress in seizure matters

The many complaints brought consumer advocates and the financial supervisory authority Bafin to the scene, which reprimanded the institution in an extraordinarily sharp form. Bafin President Mark Branson called the IT problems "unacceptable". It was no longer just a migration problem, he said, he spoke of further profound disruptions in customer service.

A short time later, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing publicly asked for forgiveness and held out the prospect of resolving the problems at Postbank, which is part of the group, by the end of the year: "All in all, this is a situation for which we can only apologize." The bank had not lived up to its responsibility and had disappointed customers greatly.

At least some Postbank customers should now be able to get compensation more easily, as the bank announced: Since Wednesday, 8 a.m., customers who were affected by delays in garnishment requests can apply for up to 1000 euros in damages online via the Postbank website.

The damage must have occurred as a result of delayed processing in connection with a garnishment, insolvency, or the creation or deregistration of a garnishment protection account. Customers must prove that they have suffered damage by means of documents such as reminder costs or default interest.

"The procedure is digital, so Postbank customers do not have to visit a branch to assert their claims," said the Deutsche Bank spokesperson. "Once the applications have been submitted, justified claims for damages are usually reimbursed by the end of the following month."

The further progress of resolving the IT problems is now being monitored by a special representative of BaFin.