NEW YORK DaimlerChrysler AG, the German automaker, has announced plans to establish DaimlerChrysler Bank, which is to offer customers banking services and financial products that go beyond traditional vehicle leasing and financing.
At a press conference in Berlin Friday, Klaus Mangold, member of the board of DaimlerChrysler and chairman of the board of DaimlerChrysler Services, said the decision to establish DaimlerChrysler Bank is an exceptionally important step for us and a logical development of our activities.
Five years ago, DaimlerChrysler then Daimler-Benz spread its activities over eight business units. Now the company is focusing more on financial activities, with the addition of banking services.
Financial products from DaimlerChrysler Bank are to include deposits, special savings plans, overnight loans, and investment funds. In addition to conventional financial services, well be offering a broad spectrum of very customer-specific financial products, Mr. Mangold said.
DaimlerChrysler already holds a banking license through its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Finanz GmbH. The license will now be extended to include customer deposits. Mercedes-Benz Finanz will apply for a full-service banking license and change its name to DaimlerChrysler Bank.
After beginning operations in Germany, the bank is intended to open branches in other European Union countries. A European license is linked to the German full-service banking license. DaimlerChrysler Bank is to be based in Stuttgart, but all its international activities will be managed in Berlin. The bank will issue a DaimlerChrysler Bank credit card.
The automaker has already issued a Mercedes Card in collaboration with Deutsche Banks Bank24 subsidiary, Visa, and MasterCard. This card has 160,000 customers in Germany. In the future, the cards are to be offered under the DaimlerChrysler corporate brand and under the companys product brands in Europe and the United States.
DaimlerChrysler is not the first car maker to move into financial services. Volkswagen and BMW have established banks.