German banking

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

German banking is the name for the banking system in Germany , which is one of the largest in the world.

Internationally unusual about the German banking system is the very low market share of private banks in relation to public and cooperative credit institutions. This is largely responsible for the unusual structures of the German banking system. Major international banks from Germany are Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank .


The first bank in Germany is the Fugger Bank , which was first mentioned in 1486 by the Augsburg city ​​council as the "bank of Ulrichen Fugker". Jakob Fugger , who also came from the Fugger dynasty, financed the secular and spiritual elite. The oldest owner-managed private bank in Germany is the Berenberg Bank , established in 1590 , founded by the brothers Hans and Paul Berenberg in Hamburg . The Hamburg bank was established in March 1619, followed by the establishment of the Cologne “Banco di gyro d'affrancatione” on March 2, 1705 by Elector Johann Wilhelm II , which was the first bank of notes in the empire. It issued the first means of payment in the form of bank notes in Germany. Obviously the first mortgage bank - and thus Pfandbrief bank in today's sense - was the Schlesische Landschaft founded in June 1770 , a cooperative public-law credit institution that borrowed with a lending limit of 50% of the aristocratic property value and refinanced these loans with bearer Pfandbriefe. It was followed in June 1777 by the Kur- und Neumärkische Ritterschaftliche Kreditinstitut , then the landscapes in Pomerania in March 1781, West Prussia in 1787 and East Prussia in 1788.

In the meantime, the first savings banks have emerged in order to give the poorer sections of the population a secure opportunity to save the smallest capital deposits for risk provision in old age or in the event of illness. The lending bank in Hanau (founded on April 10, 1738 by Landgrave Wilhelm VIII ), the Württembergische Waisenkasse in Roth (1746 by Anselm II. Schwab ), the Braunschweig- Ducal pawnshop (founded in March 1765 “under Landesfürstlicher Garantie ”), the - still existing - Fürstlich Castell'sche Credit-Casse (1774) or the Fürstliche Leihkasse in Detmold (1786), the latter focusing on a real estate credit institution . According to modern understanding, the first savings bank is the savings class of the “General Supply Institution” established by the Hamburg “Patriotic Society for the Promotion of the Arts and Education” in 1788. She also gave to the servants , day laborers and sailors savings accounts , so that "ordinary people" could invest their savings safely and at interest.

The first rural credit unions were brought into being as a result of a bad harvest in 1842 by Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen . After the “Anhausen Loan Association” founded in March 1862, they were soon represented in almost all rural communities and developed a very useful activity there. One of the first founding of a cooperative bank took place in August 1862 by converting it into a cooperative based on Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch's principles with the loan association for Darmstadt and Bessungen under the name Volksbank Darmstadt . The Heddesdorf Loan Association , founded in 1864, is today the first cooperative in the Raiffeisen sense.

The first major bank to emerge was Commerzbank , founded in February 1870 as Commerz- und Disconto-Bank in Hamburg, followed by Deutsche Bank (March 1870) and Dresdner Bank (November 1872). Its foundations were the result of the industrialization resulting strong capital requirements which establishing itself in Germany heavy industry , the only by major banks and / or banking syndicates was to finance.

With the introduction of the first Banking Act in December 1931, the government reacted to the German banking crisis from June 1931 and wanted, in particular, to prevent future undesirable developments in the credit system. As central regulations, it included, for the first time, uniform notification and reporting regulations for the purpose of monitoring particularly risky loans ( large loans , million loans ).

The banking system of West Germany and the GDR developed separately in the post-war period . In the post-war development phase, banks also grew in West Germany, and broader sections of the population were able to save or take out consumer loans through increasing incomes . By order No. 10 of the Soviet military administration of July 23, 1945, all private banks and insurance companies in the GDR were closed and their assets were confiscated. Since the savings banks were already state-owned, they were not affected by this measure. On July 20, 1948, the German Central Bank was established as the central bank , from which the State Bank of the GDR emerged on January 1, 1968 . On October 13, 1948, the German Investment Bank was founded as a state- owned bank, which was the only institute allowed to grant long-term investment loans to trade and industry. The Deutsche Bauernbank was created by a special law of February 22, 1950; from February 1963 it was called the GDR Agricultural Bank and granted agricultural loans . It focused on financing for agriculture and influenced and controlled the financial situation of the LPGs .

The still existing GDR savings banks were assigned their customers and the central bank assigned all their savings accounts in January 1951.In January 1952, the central bank assigned them sole responsibility for the account management of small businesses with up to 10 employees, in return they had all accounts of public bodies and larger ones Transferring operations to the central bank. The “Order on the financing of the purchase of furniture and other durable goods”, which came into force on October 16, 1953, enabled a real installment loan . Since October 1956 the trade has been allowed to sell certain goods by paying in installments. As part of an administrative reform in 1952, the number of GDR savings banks rose to 198; it remained relatively stable at 196 until reunification . In March 1956, the state-owned savings banks were given a uniform statute. This formally gave them universal bank status, but in fact deposit business and payment transactions predominated at the savings banks . The German Foreign Trade Bank , founded in May 1966, cultivated targeted business relationships with banks outside the socialist camp .

With the bankruptcy of the West German Herstatt Bank in June 1974, the German banking system fell into another crisis. The consequences were, in particular, the tightening of banking supervisory regulations ( Principle Ia ), the introduction of deposit insurance and the tightening of the KWG. After the collapse of IBH-Holding in November 1983, their house bank, SMH-Bank, got into a crisis, which Lloyds Bank was able to avert through takeover in December 1983 .

The increasingly stricter regulation of the German banking system through the introduction of the Solvency Regulation in January 2007 could not prevent the financial crisis from spreading to Germany from 2007 onwards . In July 2007, IKB Deutsche Industriebank ran into financial difficulties, followed in August 2007 by Sachsen LB and in September 2008 by Hypo Real Estate . The Financial Market Stabilization Act of October 2008 created uniform rules for the state rescue of endangered banks, which Commerzbank first had to use in December 2008 and WestLB in December 2009 . In addition to numerous other EU regulations, the Capital Adequacy Ordinance (CRR), which also comprehensively regulates the German banking sector, has been in force since January 2014 , once again drawing conclusions from the financial crisis. It introduced regular stress tests (Art. 177 CRR) in order to use hypothetical crisis simulations to identify which scenarios could pose a threat to the continued existence of financial service providers with regard to changes in the earnings and thus the equity situation.


According to Section 1 of the German Banking Act (KWG), a company is a credit institution if it conducts banking business on a commercial basis or to an extent that requires business operations to be set up in a commercial manner. The KWG also defines exceptions: The Deutsche Bundesbank , the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau , the social security agencies and the Federal Employment Agency are, for example, not credit institutions within the meaning of the law. Banking transactions within the meaning of the KWG include:

However, these transactions only include the “external business” of the credit institution in the sense of economics . Join in:


At the end of 2016, the Deutsche Bundesbank had 1,888 financial institutions with 32,026 domestic branches. This includes the building societies, but not capital investment companies. The three-pillar structure is characteristic of the banking system in Germany . Thereby the separation into the pillars of cooperative banks (975 credit unions and 1 cooperative central bank), public institutions (403 savings banks and 9 Landesbanken ) as well as 500 credit banks and other institutions (including 4 big banks , 189 regional and other banks as well as 188 branches of foreign banks) ) designated. In 2018, 1,783 financial institutions were still counted.

In an international comparison, the degree of consolidation is low and the public sector's share is high at around 45%. The profitability of German banks is below average in an international comparison - this applies to all three pillars. In 2003 the return on equity was only 0.7%. In the meantime, risk provisioning has fallen significantly, among other things through the sale of so-called lazy loans .

In Germany, the return on equity and the interest margin are usually used to compare the performance of banks . (For comparison: In the US, the cost-income ratio is the most important business indicator.)

Banking in Germany is regulated by the Banking Act (KWG). It is divided into three sectors: private, public and cooperative banks (three-pillar system).

Private commercial banks

Private commercial banks include:

Public law credit institutions

The Sparkasse logo in Germany

The public credit institutions include:

  • five Landesbanken ( LBBW , BayernLB , Helaba , Nord / LB , SaarLB ). They do not offer any retail business themselves, but some have subsidiaries. These are the BW-Bank of LBBW, the Braunschweigische Landessparkasse of Nord / LB, DKB , which belongs to the BayernLB Group, and the Frankfurter Sparkasse of Helaba. The Landesbanken products are sold by the affiliated savings banks. Furthermore, the Landesbanken are the house bank of the respective country and look after major customers.
  • The former LBB is fully sponsored by the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe.
  • the federal institute KfW Bankengruppe , an institution under public law for the execution of tasks on behalf of the public , such as the promotion of SMEs and start-ups, investment loans to small and medium-sized enterprises as well as financing of infrastructure projects and housing construction, financing of energy-saving technologies, municipal infrastructure, educational loans, export and project financing as well as the area of ​​development cooperation.
  • the central institute of the Sparkassen DekaBank , an institution under public law .
  • around 450 savings banks , whose owners (cities and districts) should use the distributed profits for the common good.
  • Landesbausparkassen (LBS)

Cooperative sector

Logo of the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken in Germany

The cooperative banks include:

In addition, the cooperative sector is involved in the following banks:

The largest credit institutions in Germany

International significance of the German credit institutions

Over the past thirty years there have been major shifts in position among banks by country in the global financial markets. The German banks, which have always been rather low- yielding in comparison , but have strong balance sheets, were initially due to the economic strength of Japan since around 1970 and China since 2004 as well as the wave of large bank mergers, especially in France and Japan, according to the criteria of business volume , total assets , and market capitalization and core capital pushed further and further. Despite a sharp rise in returns at most German institutes in 2005 and despite a substantial increase in core capital in some cases and an equally increased balance sheet total, German institutes continued to decline in all comparative points. The fact that the German banking market is less concentrated on an international scale means that there are relatively few German banks among the 25 or 100 top institutions in the world (1 or 4 to 7, depending on the criterion, see below), although the German banking market is among the greatest ever heard. On the other hand, among the largest 1000 banks in the world there are proportionally significantly more German institutions, namely around 100 banks (2005: 98), corresponding to a share of 10%.

Based on total assets , in 2005 only one of the major German banks was among the 25 largest banks in the world, Deutsche Bank (in 12th place). In 2003 it was all four of the major German banks.

The global leader in 2005 was the British Barclays Bank with USD 1,591 billion (the previously leading Japanese Mizuho Financial Group was now only in 10th place), while the second place was the Swiss UBS with 1,568 (in the previous year still the US Citigroup ). The top 25 in terms of total assets in 2005 were spread across the following countries:

4 UK
4 France
3 Japan
3 Netherlands
2 Switzerland (UBS, Credit Suisse Group)
2 Belgium
1 Germany ( Deutsche Bank )
1 Spain
1 Italy
1 China

The following German credit institutions were among the 50 largest by balance sheet total in 2005:

12th place: Deutsche Bank
Rank 29: Dresdner Bank
32nd place: Commerzbank

According to the criterion of market capitalization (stock market value), only one institution was also in 2005, again Deutsche Bank, in the top 25, in 23rd place (previous year: 21st place, 2003: 17th place). As in previous years, the US Citibank was the front runner with USD 242.0 billion. In 2005, the 20 largest by market value were distributed among the following countries (values ​​from 2003 in brackets):

6 (8) USA
4 (5) UK
3 (3) Japan
3 (0) China
3 (3) France
1 (1) Germany

In terms of core capital , only Deutsche Bank was among the top 25 in the world. In 2005, Citigroup was once again the world leader with core capital of USD 79.4 billion. The following German credit institutions were among the largest 100 in 2003 (as of 2005):

Rank 12: Deutsche Bank (23)
32nd place: HypoVereinsbank
45th place: Commerzbank
50th place: BayernLB
Rank 54: Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Rank 59: Dresdner Bank
71st place: Eurohypo

The list of the 29 most important credit institutions published in Cannes in 2011 on behalf of the G-20 summit included two German credit institutions: Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank . The Deutsche Bank was the largest bank with total assets of 2282.48 billion euros, with an equity ratio of 2.27% (28th place). In comparison, Commerzbank took 23rd place with total assets of EUR 683.68 billion and an equity ratio of 3.35% (24th place).

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich Viehöver, Die InfluenceReichen: Henkel, Otto and Co. , 2006, p. 248 f.
  2. Patrick Zenz-Spitzweg, The choice of the provider in private banking , 2007, p. 130
  3. Leopold-Michael Marzi, The Law of the Pfandbriefe and Mortgage Banks in the Past and Present , 2002, p. 13
  4. ^ Joseföffelholz / Gerhard Müller, Bank-Lexikon: Concise dictionary for banking and savings banks , 1983, p. 280
  5. ^ Eckhard Wandel , Banks and Insurance Companies in the 19th and 20th Centuries , Oldenbourg, Munich 1998, p. 3. ISBN 3-486-55072-1
  6. Johannes Röser, How unfashionable, how modern is saving? , in: Christ in der Gegenwart, 2013, pp. 367–368
  7. Jürgen Staab, Renewable Energies in Municipalities, 2016, p. 18
  8. Hans-Ulrich Westhausen, Internal Audit in Association Groups and Franchise Systems, 2016, p. 54 FN 173.
  9. ^ Mathias Schmoeckel, Rechtsgeschichte der Wirtschaft , 2008, p. 459
  10. Jochen Klein, The Savings Banks in Germany and France , 2003, p. 45 f.
  11. Bundesbank: Again fewer credit institutions and branches. In: . July 4, 2019, accessed July 9, 2019 .
  12. Die Bank 12.2006 ( Memento of the original from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. FTD Germany, Systemically Relevant Institutes at the G-20 Summit, 2011 ( memento of November 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 9, 2011