Changes in bank office statistics in 2023

Decline in number of credit institutions and domestic branches slowed somewhat compared with previous years

The consolidation process in the German banking sector, which has been in progress for many years now, continued in 2023 – albeit at a somewhat slower pace than in previous years. Over the course of the year, the overall number of credit institutions fell by 55 in net terms (61 in the previous year) to 1,403. This was primarily attributable to 52 mergers (2022: 55), the majority of which were in the cooperative bank sector. Of the total of 63 departures, 8 were still due to licences being relinquished, 2 to licences being revoked and 1 to insolvency.  Meanwhile, there were 8 additions – primarily among foreign credit institutions wishing to establish a presence in Germany.

Although the number of domestic branches fell significantly to 19,501, the decline of 4.6% was somewhat smaller than in the previous years (2022: around 6%; 2021: around 10%). The increasing prevalence of online banking and the response to credit institutions’ lower profitability in the face of several years of low interest rates led to a thinning-out of the branch network in virtually all banking sectors.

Change in number of credit institutions

In 2023, there were 8 additions (2022: 5) and 63 departures (2022: 66)  across all credit institutions. Of these departures, 39 (2022: 37) were attributable to mergers in the cooperative sector. The number of cooperative institutions thus fell to 697, which again represented a drop of just over 5%.

In the savings bank sector, mergers caused the number of institutions to fall by 8 (2022: 9), leaving 354 savings banks alongside 6 Landesbanken (the number of which did not change from the previous year).

In 2023, the number of commercial banks decreased by 4 institutions net (2022: 15 net) to 242; the number of “regional banks and other commercial banks” declined from 141 to 137 at the end of 2023. There were 3 additions versus 7 departures; 3 of the departures (5 in the previous year) were due to business operations being transferred following mergers, some of which were cross-border, 3 were attributable to licences being relinquished and 1 was due to insolvency.

The number of big banks remained unchanged, at 3. In the category “branches of foreign credit institutions”, there were 4 additions versus 4 departures. At the end of 2023, this category of banks thus encompassed an unchanged figure of 102 institutions.

In the course of consolidation efforts, moreover, there were 3 departures from the “public building and loan associations” category, the number of which fell from 8 to 5. The number of private building and loan associations decreased by 1 institution due to a licence being relinquished. Mortgage banks saw 1 departure owing to a merger.

Number of domestic branches declined again significantly but less sharply than in previous years 

The number of domestic branches [1] declined again significantly in 2023, albeit not as sharply as in the previous years. It went down by 945 (4.6%) to 19,501, thus falling below 20,000 for the first time. The number of branches had decreased by 1,266 branches (5.8%) in the previous year and by as much as 2,388 branches (9.9%) in 2021. This development once again reflects the impact of digitalisation on distribution channels due to greater use of online banking as well as cost-cutting measures undertaken in a challenging competitive environment.

A further net decline in the number of branches was observed in all sectors of the banking industry.

Once again, the number of big bank branches went down substantially by 248 (-6.7%) to 3,471, but not as sharply as in the previous year (-318, or -7.9%). Big banks thus account for 17.8% of the total number of branches (2022: 18.2%). According to the plans published by the banks to date, this declining trend is set to continue. The regional banks’ branch network was cut by only 13 branches, leaving 941.

All in all, commercial banks had reduced the number of their branches by 253 (2022: -374) to 4,572 by the end of 2023. Their overall share was thus almost unchanged, at 23.4%.

Branch numbers were also cut by 366 to 7,104 in the savings bank sector (including Landesbanken). With a share of 36.4%, this sector still has the largest number of domestic branches.

In the cooperative sector, the number of branches fell by 306 in net terms (2022: 416) to 6,588. This sector’s share in the total number of domestic branches came to 33.8% (2022: 33.7%).

The building and loan association sector saw only limited declines: among private building and loan associations, the number of branches fell by 19 to 743, while the figure for public building and loan associations remained unchanged at 443 branches. The number of branches in the “Other” category (excluding building and loan associations) stood at 51 (see Table 2).

Slight increase in foreign branches and slight decrease in foreign subsidiaries

The number of subsidiaries [2] of German banks domiciled abroad fell slightly from 77 to 76 at the end of 2023 (see Table 3). With 58 foreign subsidiaries, big banks still account for the vast majority of these. The other categories of banks are less strongly represented abroad (regional banks had 9 foreign subsidiaries, in the cooperative sector DZ-Bank had 4, the Landesbanken had 3, building and loan associations had 1).  

Following slight declines in the previous two years, the number of branches of German credit institutions abroad rose moderately by 6 to 257 (up 2.4%). The additions were primarily among regional banks and other commercial banks.

Nearly three-quarters of all foreign branches as well as just over one-half of foreign subsidiaries were located in Europe, mainly in EU Member States (see Table 3). At year-end 2023, even nearly three years after the completion of Brexit, there were 21 foreign branches – and thus actually 2 more than in the previous year – and 5 foreign subsidiaries (unchanged from 2020) located in the United Kingdom.


  1. Branches pursuant to Section 24(1a) number 4 of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz). Branches that only provide automated banking or financial services are not included here. 
  2. Equity interest of more than 50% in a foreign credit institution.