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Bancassurers are thriving again, but for how long?

In an era of negative rates, banks are more dependent than ever on their ownership of ancillary products to attach to low-margin mortgages.


It’s not meant to be like this. In the new digital world, banks are supposed to be financial supermarkets, developing internationally transportable distribution platforms with high-value third-party products. Even loans and deposits – certainly insurance and savings products – should be outsourced in this model.

Ten years ago, Allianz’s sale of Dresdner to Commerzbank, together with ING’s carve-out of NN – both triggered by the 2008 crisis – were supposed to have heralded the death of bancassurance. But that has not come to pass.

Today, as higher capital requirements and negative rates have become longer-term features of the financial landscape, ownership of in-house factories for insurance and asset management products is a rare saving grace for many continental European banks.

No wonder banks resist selling.

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