Banking System in Germany
Germany's banking system includes four major types of institution, and there are some important distinctions between them.
Firstly, there are private commercial banks. These banks control almost half of all German assets and finance most of Germany's international trade. And within that sector, Deutsche Bank reigns supreme, being the 11th biggest bank worldwide.
However, private banks don't dominate the retail banking sector. The three largest private banks control 15% of the retail sector, but they are rivaled by public sector and cooperative banks - not to mention so-called "free" banks.
The public banks are divided into Sparkassen (local savings banks, don’t confuse with the name of big German bank Sparkasse!) and Landesbanken (regional banks). Seven Landesbanks operate in German regions, while smaller Sparkassen tend to operate in particular cities or urban areas.
Also known as Raiffeisenbanken, cooperative institutions are the final major group, and there are around 1,000 across Germany.
Both coops and public banks tend to cater for local communities and aren't usually focused on international visitors. But they are seen as more reliable and less risky, and some are moving toward more outward-looking strategies.
What is the largest bank in Germany?
For those who are curious, Deutsche Bank is easily Germany's biggest bank, being around 4 times the size of Commerzbank, its nearest competitor.
Among the Landesbanken, Bayerische Landesbank comes first, followed by Norddeutsche Landesbank. And DZ Bank is probably the biggest cooperative banking group.