Personal banking, an area dedicated to customers with income greater than 70,000 euros or with assets of between 75,000 euros and one million euros, is one of the Bank's naturally developing segments. At the same time, however, it is a very attractive segment for all banks, which means the competition to attract customers is intense, which requires Bankinter private banking to make an extra effort to differentiate itself from the competition.
Bankinter's strategy for this medium-high income segment is to offer the best quality service, extend the product range and adapt it to the customers' financial needs, which are affected by current low interest rates and the poor return on bank deposits.
In this line of work, the Bank improved its range of investment funds, which are the main alternatives to bank deposits. This included the launch of new guaranteed products and the adaptation of others from private banking, such as premium funds or profiled funds based on the customer's risk profile, which were very positively received by the market. Improvements were also made to the delegated investment service, through which the customer delegates the management of their investments to a team of experts, after first choosing the type of management they want.
The Bankhas also maintained and improved its offer in traditional entry-level products, such as the payroll account and mortgage arrangement. The payroll account once again remained one of our most successful products, due to the competitive edge it has over similar products. The Bank has continued to market variable-rate mortgages, but has also improved its fixed- and mixed-rate mortgage offer, because of the strong interest that these types of mortgages arouse in the current interest rate environment. The Bank's mortgage range is very broad, which enables it to adapt to the customer's personal circumstances and preferences.
During the year, Bankinter also strengthened its training programmes, with the aim of providing an excellent quality of service. All branch network professionals were trained in savings products, especially those related to retirement, and the groups involved in investment services complied with the certification requirements resulting from the entry into force of the European directive, MIFID 2.
The results of the service improvement policy were positive. The quality perceived by the customer increased significantly, along with the figure for attracting new customers (+24%) and for net new assets (+94%, a rise of 1.098 billion on the previous year in absolute terms).
The objective in 2018 is to maintain a consistent growth rate in all areas of activity, supported by the power of the brand and the provision of a high-quality service. As part of that strategy, Bankinter plans to increase its capacity to distribute products through digital channels (apps, web) and to actively participate in the digitalisation process so as to pass on the benefits of new technologies, like biometric or remote signatures, to customers.
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