apoBank with top performance in 2004

Number 1 position as financial service provider for medical professions


Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank (apoBank) is very satisfied with the performance of the last financial year. During a press conference in their new headquarters, Günter Preuß, spokesman of the management board, pointed out, that the operating profit in all its characteristics achieved a historical all time high in 2004. In spite of times of structure and earnings crisis in the banking sector the series of good news for apoBank therewith continues.

Basis for the ongoing stable growth was the increasing number of customers by 14,400 to now 277,500. Together with the expanding lending business, this enlargement was the foundation for the repeated earning improvement. "In this way, our number 1 position as financial service provider for medical professions was further strengthened", Preuß underlined. He sees apoBank's success as reflection of the clear strategy, the distinctive identity and the focus on its core competencies.

Total assets of Germany's largest cooperative bank increased by 6.8% to EUR 27.35 bn compared to the previous year. Growth driver was again the lending business: the demand for start up and real estate financing as well as for other investments led to an increase of customer loans of 8.1% to EUR 18.2 bn. On the liabilities side, deposits including securitized liabilities rose 8.1% to EUR 18.4 bn.

"Of course we are glad about these improvements and in particular about the therewith expressed confidence of the medical professions in the know-how of our bank", Preuß pointed out. But expansion is not a value per se. In fact, our business policy is in line with qualitative growth which saves resources and generates added value.

This statement is concretized in an increase of income statement's net profit of EUR 18 m to EUR 89.6 m. Profit before risk provision, consequently the result of the operating business, increased by EUR 30.3 m to EUR 234.1 m - a plus of 14.9%. Crucial for this positive result was the improvement of net interest income by EUR 46.8 m to EUR 446.2 m. The nearly unchanged interest margin of 1.68% (2003: 1.65%) shows that this was primarily due to keen new business.

The increase of the net commission income of EUR 10.6 m to EUR 90.7 m reflects in particular the strongly expanded classical securities business. apoBank's asset management strategy and the stronger focus on wealth management started years ago obviously yield fruits, apoBank stated. The expansion of the investment business with institutional and private clients will also remain in the focus in future. Moreover, with regard to the abolition of the tax privilege, the intermediation of life assurances for redemption of bullet loans was particular successful.

General administrative expenses rose by EUR 26.6 m to EUR 309.9 m. The crucial fact was in particular the increase of material expenses which were expanded due to future-oriented projects for efficiency improvements of internal processes and further developments of risk-control according to "Basel II". The increase of personnel expenses was characterized by new recruitment which were - as in previous years - undertaken against the general trend. "That we can account this cost increases with regard to our business policy and were actually able to manage it shows the improvement of the cost/income ratio from 59.2% to 57.2%", spokesman Preuß commended.

The satisfying business result put the bank in the comfortable position to establish an appropriate risk provision, further strengthen the equity and also remain to be able to pay an unchanged high dividend of 6% for fiscal year 2004 to the in the meantime more than 100.000 shareholders.

Preuß emphasized that the bank will not rest on this success, but also has very ambitious targets for the current year. The cost/income ratio should be further improved from 58% to 56%, the return on equity of at present 13.1% should be increased and the core capital ratio kept with 6.7% on a high level. For the profit before risk provision a double digit percentage increase is planned and - with regard to the present data for the first five month - well achievable.

But this successful development must not mislead that the apoBank faces strong challenges to further continue its success-story. Because after years of concentration on itself and after cost and risk consolidation the branch has rediscover the customer. Therefore, according to Preuß, one has to outline that for the medical professions the services of apoBank are without any alternative.