• Banking and Finance in Historical Perspective
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40. Jahrgang | Jahr 2014 | Heft 1



Ulrich Gröschel
Geschäftspolitik der Sparkassen seit den 1990er-Jahren
Since the beginning of the 1990’s, there have been repeated demands to privatize the German ‘Sparkassen’ (savings banks). The intent behind this demand was to consolidate the entire German banking sector. While the legal form of the banks in the Sparkassen financial group remained unchanged, the liability of the municipalities and ‘Bundesländer’ (German states) as backers (‘Anstaltslast’, ‘Gewährträgerhaftung’) of their banks was abolished. In addition, the group adopted a strategy ‘back to the roots’ and reanimated its mission as banks with a special commitment to their region (‘öffentlicher Auftrag’). After German reunification in 1990, the Sparkassen financial group faced the challenge of expanding the business to former East Germany and of establishing a market-based savings bank system in the new Federal states. The nineties were also the beginning of far-reaching changes in the regulatory framework and of an encroachment of an Anglo-American capital market culture. Furthermore, the savings banks saw themselves increasingly confronted with new competitors and low-cost online sales channels in an integrated European market with a single currency. Earnings losses could in the past largely be compensated through higher cost efficiency. Ongoing market trends, combined with a monetary regime that keeps pressure on interest earnings might however lead to an erosion of the business model of the savings banks.

Die 1990er-Jahre leiteten für die deutschen Sparkassen einen Wandel des wirtschaftlichen Umfeldes ein, mit dessen Ausmaß und Auswirkungen sie erst in den letzten Jahren in vollem Umfang konfrontiert sind. Gleichzeitig sahen sich die Institute einem erheblichen Druck auf ihre institutionellen Rahmenbedingungen ausgesetzt.[…]