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Retail banking

The credit crisis of 2008 has been cause and catalyst of a profound reshaping of the competitive environment, regulatory setup and client behavior in the retail banking sector. The post-crisis environment is characterized by low growth rates and margin compression. New service models are emerging to satisfy increasingly differentiated client demands. Retail banks are facing a complex set of new strategic challenges. It is vital that they make the right decisions and implement them effectively.

In brief

Roland Berger's Retail Banking Segment provides pragmatic solutions on a wide range of topics.

Our topic areas reflect the complexity that our clients face in today's demanding environment, responding to their strategic and operational needs. By leveraging our global network of functional experts, we are able to cover the entire spectrum of relevant issues.

We help our clients identify and prioritize their strategic options in the face of market transformations and regulatory reform. We assist them in adapting their service models and product portfolio to the new reality of a sector in transition. Together with our clients, we strive to optimize operational performance by improving the cost basis, their structures and processes. We also work with our clients on issues of risk management and marketing.

Topic map

Sample projects

The following sample projects illustrate some of our international experience in the Retail Banking Segment.

Developing a growth strategy for an international bank


A subsidiary of an international bank, the leader in a niche market, had a very good track record in serving its clients. To exploit the growth opportunities created by the crisis, the bank asked us to develop a growth strategy for the European market.


We first identified the key internal competences and the relevant additional market segments.

Next we designed a series of enhanced service models targeting the enlarged segments and increasing the share of wallet within the established customer base.

Following this, we calculated the investment necessary for various options and their likely impact on the balance sheet and P&L. We then drew up a business plan detailing the bottom-line implications of the new strategy.


Our work permitted the client to extend its market footprint in terms of both customer base and product range.

The research into potential customer segments and service models to best cater to them has enabled our client to become a serious competitor in the target segments. With the help of our scenario analysis, the client was at any point able to determine the financial implications of further expansions and could plan to do so in the near future. The roll-out plan further provided the client with a clear roadmap and success KPIs to track.

Optimizing client segmentation and the service model for a leading retail bank


A leading retail bank embarked on a program to improve customer profitability and cross-selling. The bank asked us to design and implement a new sales and service model to realize these objectives.


We first analyzed the current situation, including the customer segmentation, the related operating and service model and its level of profitability.

Next we optimized the customer segmentation so as to maximize profitability and align the profit potential with the service model. We then mapped old and new segments onto a migration matrix and designed a customer transfer process. Finally we evaluated the implications for IT and defined the requirements for implementation.


Our work permitted the client to improve its average profit per customer significantly and refocus its resources on priority customers.

The detailed segmentation concept formed the basis for a substantial reorganization of the service model and relevant departments. It also enabled the bank to introduce critical service improvements for high-value customers. Moreover, the definition of the IT pre-requisite and the impact analysis sped up the go-to-market time of the new service model.

Realigning the deposit strategy for a large retail bank


A leading retail bank embarked on a program to increase its deposit funds and reduce attrition. The bank asked us to design and implement a program to achieve these objectives.


We first reviewed the current situation, analyzing attrition according to customer segmentation, product and behavioral criteria.

Next we put together a comprehensive set of benchmarks and best practices for a deposit gathering strategy. We then discussed and evaluated a range of initiatives with the client with the bank regarding its potential for deposit gathering, implementation requirements, costs and returns. Finally we selected the best initiatives, evaluated their impact for our client and defined a roll-out plan.


Our work permitted the bank to effectively realign its deposit strategy. Based on our detailed analysis of the situation, the client was in a position to quantify its funding needs. At the same time, the detailed mapping and planning of initiatives critically improved deposit gathering and the retention of high-value customers.

Our experts


Axel Böhlke


Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 6610 - 0
E-mail: e-mail



Sebastian Maus


São Paulo, Brazil
Phone: +55 11 3046-7111
E-mail: e-mail



Guillaume Chrun


Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 53670-388
E-mail: e-mail



Wolfgang Hach


Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8724
E-mail: e-mail

Sebastian Steger


Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 30 39927 - 3488
E-mail: e-mail

Markus Strietzel


Düsseldorf, Germany
Phone: +49 211 4389 - 2244
E-mail: e-mail


Greater China


Beijing, Greater China
Phone: +86 10 84400088 - 686
E-mail: e-mail



Edoardo Demarchi


Milan, Italy
Phone: +39 02 29501-218
E-mail: e-mail



Robert Buess


Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 336-8620
E-mail: e-mail

Adrian Weber


Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 336-8759
E-mail: e-mail


Further reading

Executive Retail Banking Survey: Digital Transformation

Study, 2015

This edition of our Retail Banking Survey has a focus on digitization, a make-or-break transformational journey for all banks across Europe …  >>

Digitale Revolution im Retail-Banking


What digitalization means for banks and what opportunities are available to them in the new multi-channel world has been examined in this joint study by Visa Europe and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants …  >>

Direct banks in Belgium


The direct banking market in Belgium has slowly but surely conquered ground over the last ten years. Its growth will further accelerate in the coming five years …  >>

Retail banking – The coming revolution


Traditional banks are currently facing a difficult deflationary context, and they have to juxtapose two networks – a physical network of branches and a digital one …  >>

Retail banking – Are banks prepared for a new turning point in the retail banking landscape?


Leveraging the Roland Berger Retail Banking Wheel®, our analyses point to the start of a new era in the retail banking landscape, driven by client behavior and business model changes …  >>

The state of the European banking industry

Study, 2014

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has screened the performance of 100 top European banks covering ~90% of the EU 27 banking Industry …  >>

Separation of banking activities: which realities in Belgium?


Since the great depression of the 1930’s, the advantages and drawbacks of combining retail and investment activities in the same bank have been widely discussed …  >>

Retail banking in CEE – The secret of efficient campaign management

Study in cooperation with Efma, 2014

Based on the rising interest for efficient Campaign Management, we conducted a study with Efma, kindly endorsed by Erste Group, on current Campaign Management practices in the CEE region …  >>

Retail deposits – Prepare for a bumpy ride

Study, 2013

Given that European households have deposits worth an impressive EUR 8.5 trillion, deposits are one of the cornerstones of the EU economic system …  >>

The future of Retail Banking in Europe

Study, 2013

What does the future of retail banking in Europe look like? To answer this question, our industry experts surveyed top managers at more than 60 banks in 15 European countries …  >>

think: act CONTENT "Lean Management in the financial sector"

think: act CONTENT, 2013

Lean Management comes from the industry, but proves itself in the financial sector. Both the bank and its clients benefit from more efficient processes. Commitment from all of the teams is the key to success …  >>

think: act CONTENT "Client Centricity"

think: act CONTENT, 2012

Client centricity and retail banking are not incompatible. Know what moves your clients and you will win new ones. You will also make existing clients more profitable …  >>

think: act CONTENT "Green banking"

think: act CONTENT, 2012

The market for green banking has strong growth potential, especially in Germany. At present, three million bank customers are taking advantage of green or social banking products …  >>

Retail Banking in CEE

Study in cooperation with Efma, 2012

This study compares how banks in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) approach self employed and small private business customers, and identifies best practices …  >>

think: act CONTENT "New reality in banking"

think: act CONTENT, 2011

Retail banking has reached a crossroad. After an unprecedented market panic followed by large-scale government bailouts and other support measures, banks face various challenges …  >>

After the crisis...?

Study, 2011

The credit crisis of 2008 profoundly reshaped the competitive environment, regulation and client behavior in the banking sector. …  >>


Your expert contact

What's new

Executive Retail Banking Survey: Digital Transformation

Study, 2015

This edition of our Retail Banking Survey has a focus on digitization, a make-or-break transformational journey for all banks across Europe …  >>