At KfW, we would like to make an effective contribution to the transformation of the economy and society and enable people and companies to assume responsibility. To make this happen, we must transform ourselves as well. Our goal is to become the digital transformation and promotional bank within the decade – this is our guiding ambition. In order to define the path to achieving this, we launched the KfWplus transformation agenda last year. Overall, we want to become more adaptable, efficient and effective.
What are your main priority areas?
Our focus is on two fields of action: climate and environment as well as digitalisation and innovation. The attack on Ukraine has made us painfully and drastically aware that strengthening Europe’s sovereignty and resilience, i.e. its full capacity to act under difficult political and economic conditions, is another field of action. We will therefore focus our promotional offering on supporting the economy in its sustainable transformation and strengthening Germany as a location for technology and industry. However, we are also confronted with a paradigm shift that we must take into account in our future actions.
What do you mean by that?
On the one hand, the impact of promotion is crucial. What impact will we be able to achieve with one euro of funding? This requires even more deliberate optimisation. We will readjust our standards and will in future have to measure our success more in terms of the impact of our promotion.
On the other hand, mobilising private capital is an essential prerequisite for the success of the transformation. In Germany alone, achieving climate neutrality by 2045 will cost us five trillion euros. This cannot be covered by public money alone – private capital plays a significant role. At KfW, for example, we are working intensively on how the capital market can contribute to risk hedging in order to mobilise more private capital for transformation projects. KfW’s greater commitment as a co-venture capital provider is another topic for us.
How do you want to achieve your goals?
A central element of our KfWplus transformation agenda is the aspiration to develop further towards what I call a top-performing KfW. This includes several topics.
- 1. Digitalisation: By using new technologies such as cloud computing or automation, we aim to become even more efficient, faster and more effective in our promotion this decade. One example of this is the smart use of impact data, which helps us to develop new promotional products based on needs and to optimise existing products.
- 2. A modern operating and governance model: This first step was the bundling of the previously separate organisational units in the new and existing loan business into one central operations department. By doing this, KfW is guided by the market standard of the banking industry and is creating the conditions to make its processes more effective and efficient.
- 3. Promotion of employee potential: Attracting talent is also important to us. It is important to further develop employees and promote talent in a targeted manner. I believe that we will see a lot of change here in the coming years – just like the fourth point:
- 4. further development of agile working methods.
These are some of the goals – both external and internal – that you are working on. What progress have you already made and what are you planning for the current year?
First of all, I would like to emphasise that KfW had already started to launch many important projects that contribute to our current transformation agenda KfWplus before I took up this role. We were able to expand these last year, for example with “Xplore!”, a project under which we bundle strategically important digitalisation measures. This is not about periodic modernisation of IT – which we are of course also pushing forward – but rather a targeted digitalisation roadmap for the coming years with a clear focus on new technologies and customer centricity. In addition, we are also looking at KfW’s positioning in the promotional area of digitalisation and innovation, among other things, or are working on impact indicators to measure our promotional impacts.
We have now got many projects off the ground – but for me, 2023 is the year of implementation, more than anything else! I am already looking forward to the many small and large projects that we will implement over the course of the year and that will all contribute to the transformation of the economy and society.
For KfW, this year is also the year of its 75th anniversary. Does this also fall under the motto “KfWplus”?
75 years of KfW means 75 years of experience in shaping change. During this time, KfW has repeatedly helped to overcome crises and emerge from them stronger. Our self-image today is also: shaping the future – the motto of our anniversary year. Of course, KfWplus also plays a decisive role in this context, as it provides the framework for shaping the future and this decade of decision. I am particularly pleased to be celebrating our anniversary in the summer with all employees atthe “KfW Future Day” and to take the opportunity to make KfWplus a tangible experience. At the end of the day, every employee should be able to say: I make a significant contribution to KfWplus and to shaping our future!
Mr Wintels, thank you very much for the interview!