Growth in focus – Savings banks secure ongoing success of economy
Traditionally the Metropolitan Region Stuttgart has been a stronghold of small and mid-sized enterprises. SMEs and self-employed people provide two thirds of all jobs. They also train 80 per cent of all apprentices. On top of that the SMEs earn more than half of the gross national product and account for 80 per cent of the industrial taxes. In other words: If the SMEs prosper, the economy booms and the state is well.
LBBW head office
in the state capital Stuttgart.
To successfully stand their ground in the competition, SMEs depend most of all on reliable financial partners. These partners must not only be locally available but also possess the necessary expertise. Being firmly anchored in the region and communities, the savings banks are particularly close to the customers and specialized in the needs of SMEs. This way the savings banks in co-operation with their corporate business partners, especially the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW), find the best possible solution for every aspect of business financing. In Baden-Württemberg alone, the savings banks support the businesses with a lending volume of currently about 44 billion euros. One focus of these efforts is the Metropolitan Region Stuttgart. In addition, there is also the commitment of the LBBW and its subsidiary, the BW Bank, which has the role of a savings bank in the city of Stuttgart. In spite of the financial crisis, both – the savings banks and the BW Bank – are going to extend their leading position in financing the SMEs even further in the future.
Supporting businesses, however, does not only start when the success is already evident. We deliberately get involved at the very beginning as well – supporting the start-ups. Baden-Württemberg is one of the most innovative federal states. Most of the patent applications come from Baden-Württemberg – the Metropolitan Region Stuttgart is also leading in this regard. The savings banks not only consider start-ups as a welcome rejuvenation for the national economy but of course also as potential customers. Almost every second start-up receives assistance from a savings bank, which is able to assess the respective situation and make relevant decisions as it is locally present, close to the customer and has a view of the regional economy.
Both the start-ups and the local economy benefit in the process, because savings banks do not only base their decisions regarding credits on return-on-equity targets issued by a concern head office. The decentralized structure of the savings banks and their public mission enable them to include other criteria in the decision processes.
The stabilizing influence of the savings banks becomes evident most of all in times like these, when German banks, too, are struggling with the effects of the financial crisis. It is mainly owing to the savings banks – in Stuttgart and all of Germany – that there has not been any under-supply in credits for SMEs, yet.
The closeness to the customer that is so important for SMEs is granted due to the dense network of branch offices of the regionally independent savings banks – in Baden-Württemberg alone there are 2,500 branches. The savings banks thus guarantee that the economy, but of course also all citizens, have full access to financial services all over the state. The customers always have the free choice, whether they want to do their banking transactions in the office, on the phone or on the internet. The savings banks’ counselling remains real and personal. The institutes’ presence and closeness are highly valued by the customers and rewarded with correspondent loyalty.
Many export-oriented companies are based in the Metropolitan Region. The companies have strong foreign commitments. No other state contributes as much to the German exports as Baden-Württemberg. In co-operation with the LBBW, the savings banks also support their corporate customers abroad in a reliable and competent way. The LBBW’s branch offices, representations and German Centres operating in all important business regions are an ideal platform for looking after internationally oriented customers. These activities become more and more important and that is why we want to increase them further in the next years. The Deutsche Leasing with its broad network of international offices also supports the international business of companies based in Baden-Württemberg. In addition, the savings banks’ customers benefit from special institutions like for example the CountryDesk or the EuropaService.
Finally, we, the savings banks, take care that the employees of companies in the Metropolitan Region Stuttgart feel well – due to numerous offerings in sports and culture. The savings banks consider it part of their company ethos and not least also of their public mission to contribute to supporting and maintaining culture and nature. They combine commercial success with social responsibility by letting as many citizens as possible in the state have a share in the wealth and partake in its development.
In 2007 the savings banks in Baden-Württemberg supported numerous events, initiatives and exhibitions in the state, providing more than 41 million euros. The savings banks group Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe also supports Germany’s biggest competition for young classical musicians, “Jugend musiziert”.
Summary: The savings banks in the Metropolitan Region are not only the financial backbone of economy, according to their public mission, they also contribute significantly to society.