Changes in bank office statistics in 2015

Number of credit institutions continues to fall

Last year saw a continuation of the consolidation process in the German banking sector. Over the course of 2015, the overall number of credit institutions (in Germany) fell by 30 to 1,960 institutions. This corresponds to a 1.5% decline in 2015 compared with a drop of 1.9% in 2014. "We welcome this development, provided it strengthens the ability of banks and savings banks to achieve an appropriate and sustained level of profitability and helps branch networks adapt to changes in customer behaviour," explained Mr Andreas Dombret, the Bundesbank Executive Board member in charge of banking supervision, upon the publication of the bank office statistics for 2015. "The core strengths of the German banking industry are and remain its various business models and enterprise sizes. The changes in bank office statistics over the past year have not altered this in any way."

All in all, 25 new openings and 55 closures were recorded. Of these closures, 26 (2014: 31) were attributable to mergers and business closures in the cooperative sector (2.5% reduction in all cooperative banks). In the savings bank sector, three institutions (2014: one) each merged with another institution from the same banking group. Altogether, the number of commercial banks in 2015 fell by one (2014: three) to 390 banks. Of these, 19 new openings and 14 closures belonged to the "Branches of foreign banks and securities trading banks" category. With five new openings and 11 closures, the number of banks in the "Regional and securities trading banks and other commercial banks" category dipped slightly once again to 195. The total number of banks in the "Other" category fell by one to 121 due to the closure of a mortgage bank (see Table 1 for more details).

Number of domestic branches falls again

The number of domestic branches contracted in 2015 by 1,257, or 3.6% (2014: 894, or 2.5%), to 34,045 branches.
A net decline in the number of branches was observed in all sectors of the banking industry except for the mortgage bank sector. The greatest drop was recorded in the savings bank sector (including Landesbanken, this figure amounted to -498).

Likewise, there was a significant cut of 447 branches in the cooperative sector.

The number of commercial bank branches shrank by 251, with big banks accounting for 203 of these. The number of public building and loan association branches dipped by 57 to 624, while that of private building and loan association branches decreased by five to 912. In the "Other" category (excluding building and loan associations), the number of mortgage bank branches increased by one, resulting in an overall figure of 88.

The public institutions in the savings bank sector, which have 11,861 branches, continue to command the largest number of branches (a share of 34.8%). The cooperative sector comprises 10,833 branches and therefore has a share of 31.8%. The commercial bank sector accounts for 9,727 (2014: 9,978) branches, which corresponds to a share of 28.6% (2014: 28.3%). With 7,240 branches, big banks still make up the lion's share of commercial banks (see Table 2).

Fewer foreign subsidiaries and foreign branches

German credit institutions' trend of maintaining a foreign presence continued to abate across all banking groups in 2015. The number of subsidiaries domiciled abroad[1] dwindled by just over 8.5% (-16) at the end of 2015 from 189 in the previous year to 173 as things currently stand. The number of subsidiaries of German banks in the United States alone fell by 12 to 36.
By contrast, the number of branches of German credit institutions abroad went down only slightly last year by six to 240 (-2.4%).
Over two-thirds of all foreign branches as well as just over half of foreign subsidiaries are located in Europe, predominantly in member states of the European Union (see Table 3).


  1. Participation of more than 50% in a foreign credit institution