STARTING AND TARGET POSITIONS FOR BANKS:
WHO WILL BE CALLING THE TUNE?
Chef or waiter? Supplier or orchestrator? In a modularised world, banks can aim for one of two
possible target positions – with far-reaching consequences for their entire business model and
sources of profits.
Suppliers provide financial products and services to other players or are a link between other
participants, e.g. By providing a specific infrastructure. Typically, suppliers specialise in certain
elements along the value chain and possess specialist knowledge or economies of scale, enabling
them to price their (partial) offerings competitively.
Orchestrators play a pivotal role in the value chain: they control the customer interface and
combine their own products and services with those of third-party suppliers to meet client needs.
An orchestrator enjoys greater degrees of freedom than other players in the value chain.
This in mind, the relative importance of roles as we know them no longer holds true. Suddenly,
it is no longer the chef, but the waiter – having direct client contact – who is playing the most
important role. With the differentiation in orchestrators and suppliers, banks need to decide
which one of these two positions they want to take on in the future – but this, naturally, also
depends on their capabilities. Banks’ possible courses of action are significantly impacted and
limited by their respective starting position.
The structure of the German banking market is characterised, on the one hand, by many
independent, local banks, focused on their respective vicinities (archetype “local bank”).
On the other hand, there are larger, multi-regional and centrally organized structures, such
as large private banks and central institutions of the public and cooperative pillars (archetype
Depending on which scenario the German banking system will have to cope with, different
banking landscapes are possible.