Banks in Germany are divided into three separate tiers: private banks, publicly-owned savings banks (Landesbanks), and member-owned credit unions. The German banking system is made up of almost 1,800 banks, which include 200 private banks, 400 publicly-owned banks, and 1,100 member-owned credit unions.
According to Moody’s, the country’s banking system is stable due to the country’s resilient economy and low unemployment, which help banks in Germany maintain solid financial fundamentals. However, in January 2021, the agency said that German banks are among the least profitable in Europe, largely due to very high cost bases, and sizable cost cuts will be needed to prevent a slide to break-even or bottom-line losses for some banks.
For anyone considering a career in banking in Germany, this list of top banks in Germany is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our lists of financial institutions.
The Top Banks in Germany are:
Founded in 1870, Deutsche Bank is the largest of the banks in Germany and one of the top banking and financial services companies in the world, with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, and many emerging markets. The bank’s core business is investment banking. It also provides services in the areas of sales, trading, research, origination of debt and equity, M&A, and risk management.
Headquartered in Frankfurt, the bank employs around 85,000 staff.
Net income: EUR 495 million (3/2021)
Total assets: EUR 1.32 trillion (3/2021)
Founded in 1870, another of the oldest banks in Germany, Commerzbank provides retail and commercial financing services, investment banking services, asset management, and private banking services.
Based in Frankfurt, the bank employs around 39,000 staff and serves 17.5 million customers in 50 countries.
Net income: EUR -2.87 billion (2020)
Total assets: EUR 537.8 billion (3/2021)
Founded in 1948, KFW Bankgruppe is a Government-owned development bank. Kreditanstalt Fuer Wiederaufbau – KFW operates as a promotional bank. It provides financing for investments, projects by German and European companies, and economic and social initiatives in developing countries, as well as advisory services.
KFW funds its business activities through the international capital markets, raising US$85.84 billion in 2016. It is considered by many to be the safest bank in the world. It is present in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bonn, and Cologne. Globally, it manages 80 local and representative offices.
The bank currently employs around 6,700 staff.
Net income: EUR 1.43 billion (2017)
Total assets: EUR 472.3 billion (2017)
DZ Bank is an acronym for Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank, meaning cooperative bank. Founded in 2001, the bank serves as the central institution for more than 1,000 cooperative banks in Germany. Headquartered in Frankfurt, it employs around 31,400 staff and serves 16 million customers.
The bank currently operates in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Koblenz, Munich, Munster, and Stuttgart, as well as in London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Net income: EUR 872 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 594.6 billion (2020)
HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Bank AG)
Founded in 1998, UniCredit Bank AG offers personal and commercial banking products and services in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Luxembourg, the rest of Europe, Canada, the United States, and Asia. The bank currently employs 12,000 staff and serves 11 million customers through its 1,150 branches.
Net income: EUR 668.0 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 338.1 billion (2020)
Established in 1999, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg is both one of the universal banks and commercial banks in Germany. It is headquartered in Stuttgart and currently employs around 10,121 staff.
The bank’s business model is based on five pillars: corporate customers, private customers, savings banks, real estate financing, and capital markets.
Net income: EUR 172 million (2020)
Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB)
Founded in 1884, BayernLB provides various banking services to large corporations and Mittelstand companies, real estate customers, financial institutions, asset management customers, and the public sector in Europe and the United States. Headquartered in Munchen, the bank employs around 7,400 individuals.
Net income: EUR 228 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 286.3 billion (3/2021)
Norddeutsche Landesbank (Nord/LB)
Established in 1970, Nord/LB provides financial services to private, corporate, institutional, and public sector clients in Germany and other countries. Headquartered in Hanover, the bank employs around 6,500 staff.
Net income: EUR 85.1 million (2017)
Total assets: EUR 160 billion (2018)
Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba)
The bank is a Landesbank offering financial services to companies, banks, institutional investors, and the public sector. It also acts as a central clearing institution and services 40% of the savings banks in Germany. Headquartered in Frankfurt, it operates branches in Berlin, Stuttgart, and Munich. Internationally, it is present in Paris, London, New York, Madrid, Moscow, Shanghai, and Stockholm. Founded in 1953, the bank employs around 6,000 staff.
Apart from its subsidiaries (Helaba Invest Kapitalanlagegesellschaft, Frankfurter Bankgesellschaft, and the OFB Group), the group is also comprised of online banks 1822direkt, LBS Hessen-Thüringen, and WIBank.
Net income: EUR 176 million (2020)
Total assets: EUR 219.3 billion (2020)
NRW Bank is a state development bank headquartered in Dusseldorf. Founded in 2002, the bank operates through its Programme-based Promotion, Other Promotion/Liquidity Management, and Staff/Services segments.
The bank provides low-interest promotion loans, as well as equity financing and advisory services. It is also involved in treasury services and capital markets business, including municipal loans.