Germany’s Savings Banks Say Profit Little Changed Last Year

Germany’s 422 savings banks reported a combined profit little changed from last year as low interest rates weighed on income and clients bought fewer securities, hurting commission revenue.

Net income rose to 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion) from 2 billion euros a year earlier, an association representing the banks said in an e-mailed statement from Berlin today. Net interest income fell 1.6 percent to 23.2 billion euros while commissions shrank 0.8 percent to 6.3 billion euros.

“The confusing situation on international financial markets has led to negative sales of securities -- the overall volume is 43 percent lower than 2008,” Georg Fahrenschon, president of the German Savings Banks Association, or DSGV, said at a news conference in Frankfurt, according to the statement. “It will take a long time until customers are ready for this again.”

Savings banks had combined assets of 1.1 trillion euros, the association said. That’s almost twice the 636 billion euros of Germany’s second-biggest bank Commerzbank AG and more than half the 2 trillion euros of Deutsche Bank AG, the country’s largest lender.

The business model of the savings banks relies on collecting deposits and lending to companies in their regions. None of the banks were bailed out during the financial crisis.

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