German banking institutions
Germany has a system of “universal” banks which are engaged
in the full range of banking activities. In addition, there are some
banks which specialize in particular services (e. G. Mortgage
banks and home loan banks).
Most banks conduct both corpo-
rate and private customer business, although there is a trend
towards big corporations increasingly being handled by major
banks, while small and medium-sized enterprises are handled
by smaller, regionally based banks (e. G. Savings and loan banks,
credit cooperatives for trade, and agricultural credit coopera-
tives). Meanwhile, many non-banking frms, such as insurers,
department stores, mail-order frms, and car manufacturers have
become fnancial services providers.
In the past few years, the German banking sector has under-
gone signifcant consolidation. The takeover of Dresdner Bank
by Commerzbank and the takeover of Postbank and Sal. Oppen-
heim by Deutsche Bank are the most striking examples of this
development. Even in the case of cooperatives there have been
numerous mergers between branches.
The strong increase in
consolidations has led to a shrinking banking branch network
in Germany. Nevertheless, Germany is still at the European
forefront in this respect.