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German savings banks: Staying connected

German savings banks: Staying connected

​​​​​​​​​Member DSGV says 1.4 million meetings held with Covid-19 affected corporate customers

>> See Sparkasse dedicated coronavirus page (in German)

>> See related story

​​>> See how WSBI-ESBG members help during Covid-19 

​BRUSSELS, 11 June 2020 – The 377 savings banks in Germany remain a strong partner for companies and private customers during the Corona crisis. According to WSBI-ESBG member DSGV, the German Savings Banks Association, by the end of April alone bank staff held some 1.4 million consultations with Corona-affected customers.

Inside the numbers

Each meeting focuses mainly on maintaining the economic performance of customers and their companies and securing current liquidity requirements. Around 20 to 30% of these discussions resulted in changes to credit lines, suspension of interest or repayments or applications for promotional loans. Between 85 to 90% of of ​customer requests could be fulfilled. In 159,000 cases, interest and principal payments were suspended for commercial customers until the end of April. Applications for promotional loans were made to German promotional bank KfW in 12,858 cases, of which 12,248 have already been accepted. This means that the promotional loans do not make up the core of the aid. The focus is on the direct measures taken by the savings banks.

The Sparkassen also support their private customers with the same commitment: In around 150,000 cases, interest and principal payments were suspended by the end of April. In many cases, the agreements go well beyond the statutory moratorium (April to June).

​The consultations with companies of all types of sizes forms part of an overall effort to help customers of German Savings Banks withstand Covid-19. Other measures carried out prior to this latest news include:

  • €17 billion in new loans granted to companies, self-employed and private individuals in March 2020. That is 22.3 percent more than in ​March 2019.

  • In March 2020, €9.7 billion new loans were granted to companies and the self-employed, 22.6 percent more than in the previous year.

  • Private individuals received loans of €6.9 billion, an increase of 23 percent.

  • 270,000 deferrals have been made by Sparkasse customers of interest and principal payments (as of April 22), including 127,000 private customers and 143,000 commercial customers.

  • The savings banks have applied for 7,674 loans for their customers from KfW, of which 7,125 have already been approved. Around half of all applications for KfW loans come from companies and the self-employed who are looked after by savings banks.

  • Savings banks have increased their capacity for contactless payments – 206 million transactions were contact free in March (11.4% more than February). The upper limit of a contactless transaction has been raised to  €50.

  • Savings banks are aiming for all debit cards to be equipped with contactless payment possibility by end-2020.​

Savings and retail banks in Europe: Standing with people, communities, regions

Savings and retail banks in Europe reported to ESBG that loan deferrals and moratoria help both private and corporate clients. Member banks have issued a flood of new loans despite the economic downturn and set up online payment solutions and digital platforms for small- and medium-sized firms. On payments, savings and retail banks upgrade debit cards to execute contactless payments. People's income streams are smoothed out thanks banks paying unemployment benefits and pensions in advance. Commissions for the use of ATMs have been eliminated. ​

Specific examples from ESBG members include:​

FRANCE: Savings banks form the leading private financier in the public hospital sector. Refered to as Caisses d'Epargne, ​they have mobilised to respond to new challenges linked to the health crisis brought on by Coviid-19. >> See story

​ITALY: Italian savings banks foundations set aside – in grants – some €50 million to sustain non-profit organisations and to strengthen the much-stained national health system to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

LUXEMBOURG: Until mid-May, banks granted moratoria on loan repayments to more than 14,000 companies, amounting to €3.4 billion, thereof 20% on the account of ESBG local member Luxembourgish savings banks – BCEE - Banque et Caisse d'Épargne de l'État.

​SPAIN: Funds totalling more than €47 billion were mobilised through mid-May via new loans and other forms of financing.​​

>> See how WSBI-ESBG members help during Covid-19 on a dedicated WSBI-ESBG Covid-19 site.

Communication - institutional & commercial; SME finance; Proximity