Frankfurt The long-standing CSU politician Ulrich Reuter is to become the new head of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV) in 2024. The presidents of the regional savings bank associations agreed in a joint meeting “with a large majority” on Reuter as a candidate for the office, the DSGV announced on Monday.
“You propose Professor Reuter to all other eligible voters.” The election should take place in the first quarter of 2023 at a general meeting of the DSGV. The new President’s term of office will then begin at the beginning of next year.
There are 21 voters at the General Assembly. In addition to the eleven regional savings bank associations, these include 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.
Since the regional savings bank presidents usually coordinate with their state banks, the election of Reuter is only a formality after the unequivocal vote of the regional savings bank presidents.
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The DSGV President has great influence both internally and externally. 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.
The savings banks are the largest financial group in Germany, but not a hierarchically managed group. The individual institutes and regional associations are independent and regularly argue with each other – both with each other and with the DSGV. Tensions are still high, especially between savings banks and state banks.
Career start at Deutsche Bank
The savings banks have been struggling behind the scenes for months to succeed Helmut Schleweis, whose term of office ends at the end of 2023. The 68-year-old had asked the responsible bodies for a quick decision in December so that “as little harmful speculation as possible arises”.
Reuter has headed the Bavarian Savings Banks Association since 2021. Before that, the 60-year-old was district administrator of the Aschaffenburg district for the CSU for 18 years. The doctor of law had previously worked for Deutsche Bank from 1993 to 2001.
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.
One of the things that spoke for the 57-year-old was that she had been in office since 2017. With the merger of the insurers Provincial Rhineland and Provincial Northwest and the forthcoming merger of the Landesbausparkassen West and Nord, Buchholz has already proven that it can shape things. She also knows her way around the Berlin floor as the former general manager of the Federal Association of Public Banks.
However, there are also some decision-makers in the savings bank organization who see Buchholz critically and do not trust her to bring the organization together. Among other things, they refer to their behavior in the reform of the joint security system of savings banks and state banks in 2021. At the time, Buchholz had demanded in a joint letter with other regional presidents that the savings banks were no longer liable for the state banks.
Buchholz received applause for this in her own regional association, which has been critical of Landesbanken since the liquidation of WestLB in 2012 at the latest. Other regional savings bank associations, which are still involved in state banks, found the letter lacking in solidarity. They accused Buchholz of fighting for vested interests and thereby jeopardizing the future of the entire public sector.
More: Savings Banks President urges a quick decision on his successor.