Municipalities criticize the advance of the savings bank associations

Ulrich Reuter

The lawyer follows Helmut Schleweis at the head of the DSGV.

(Photo: IMAGO/Stephan Görlich)

Frankfurt After the regional savings bank associations agreed on the appointment of the future president of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV) on Monday, there was criticism from the municipalities. “The cities, as sponsors of the savings banks, want an orderly procedure that regulates the successor for the office of DSGV President. The fact that a preliminary decision by a non-competent body is now being announced in advance does not do justice to the role of the savings banks,” said Markus Lewe (CDU), President of the City Council, to the Handelsblatt on Tuesday.

Presidents of the regional savings bank associations had agreed that the long-standing CSU politician Ulrich Reuter should become the new DSGV boss at the beginning of 2024. Reuter, who currently heads the Bavarian Savings Banks Association, succeeds Helmut Schleweis.

The final decision is to be made at a DSGV general meeting in the first quarter. There are 21 voters. In addition to the eleven regional savings bank associations, there are seven representatives from state banks and three from central municipal associations. The municipalities are the sponsors of the around 360 savings banks nationwide and are therefore owners in a similar position.

However, Lewe is also critical of the composition of the DSGV General Assembly. “The municipalities have to play a much more important role there. Changing this is appropriate and necessary,” said the mayor of Münster.
The DSGV President has great influence in the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe and beyond. At the end of 2021, the public law institutes represented by the DSGV had a combined business volume of 3.3 trillion euros and employed 284,800 people. This makes the savings banks the largest financial group in Germany.

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Lewe demands clear regulation

The general manager of the German district association, Hans-Günter Henneke, also criticized the way in which it was determined. “For the future, I imagine that there will be a clearly regulated and orderly procedure for the election of the DSGV President,” he said. “The election proposal should come from the DSGV Presidential Committee or from the General Assembly. Everyone – regional savings bank associations, state banks, municipalities and savings banks – is represented in these committees.”

Henneke announced that he would vote for Reuter. “I support Reuter’s proposal and will also vote for him.” Henneke had previously suggested that Schleweis’ term of office be extended by two to two and a half years.

Markus Lewe

The President of the German Association of Cities criticizes that the preliminary decision on Ulrich Reuter as the new DSGV President was made without sufficiently considering the municipalities.

(Photo: IMAGO/Metodi Popov)

Lewe did not comment on the upcoming election. But he also urges a clear regulation: “It is very important to me that we agree on and comply with a procedure that corresponds to the importance of the office, both for the savings banks and their sponsors.”

The selection process depends on clear criteria for potential candidates. “You must be able to secure the future of the savings bank group in difficult times.” Keywords are, for example, the financing of major transformation projects, such as climate protection and digitization.

Designated new DSGV boss Ulrich Reuter wants to campaign for approval

The savings banks have been struggling behind the scenes for months to succeed Schleweis. The term of office of the 68-year-old, who has been at the head of the DSGV since 2018, ends at the end of this year. Within the group, many officials are angry that the decision about the important personnel has dragged on for so long.

In addition to Reuter, according to insiders, Liane Buchholz, President of the Savings Banks Association of Westphalia-Lippe, also expressed interest in the DSGV chief post. She would have been the first woman to head the Savings Banks Association. However, only Reuter is standing for election at the general meeting.

Reuter described his nomination as a “great leap of faith”. “I would like to thank my colleagues from the regional savings bank associations for this.” Until the general meeting of the DSGV, he will also personally seek the approval of the other members of our association who are entitled to vote.

The doctor of law has been at the head of the Bavarian Savings Banks Association since 2021. Before that, the 60-year-old was a district administrator in Aschaffenburg for the CSU for 18 years and in this function was also a member of the board of directors of Sparkasse Aschaffenburg-Alzenau for several years.

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