Top Banks in Germany that you Should know About Now as an Immigrant and not Later

Top Banks in Germany

One of the things Germany is known for is financial stability. The notion is supported by their seamless banking system. New age technology has made the entire banking system even easier for foreigners as well as locals. The banking systems in Germany are one of the top in the world.

Germany has about 1,800 banks, which is 1,000 more banks than any other country. For this reason, picking a bank might be a hassle for anyone not familiar with the banking system in Germany. To help you choose a bank, these are the top banks that are renowned in Germany.

Banking structure

Since there are 1,800 banks in Germany, they all need to be structured in a way that clients can choose what works for them. Banks in Germany are divided into three main categories:

  • First-tier: the first tier consists of private banks. There are 200 private banks and at the top of this list is Deutsche Bank.
  • Second-tier: these are publicly-owned savings banks and there are about 400 of them.
  • Third-tier: the third tier has member-owned credit unions and there are about 1,100 of them in Germany.

Top 10 banks in Germany

These are the top banks in Germany based on the assets they have acquired over the years.

Deutsche Bank

When it comes to assets, this is the top bank in Germany. Reports from 2021 show that it had acquired assets worth €1.324 trillion. It is also the leading bank in the private sector. The headquarters of the bank are in Frankfurt but it has branches all over the country. Deutsche Bank was established in 1869 and has been in operation ever since.

DZ Bank Group

The DZ Bank Group ranks in second based on the assets acquired. The total assets acquired in 2020 were €596 billion. The headquarters are in Frankfurt as well. In 2016, it merged with WGZ Bank, which increased its assets as well.

KfW Bankengruppe

Based on the total assets acquired by 2017, this is the third largest bank in Germany. It had €472.3 million assets acquired in 2017. The bank was founded in 1948 and has its headquarters in Frankfurt.

Commerzbank

Commerzbank is the fourth-largest bank in Germany. It had acquired assets worth €462billion in 2018. The bank was founded in 1870 and has its headquarters in Frankfurt. 

Hypovereinsbank (UniCredit Bank AG)

HypoVereinsbank is a subsidiary of UniCredit Bank. As of 2014, the bank had acquired assets worth €300.3billion. It was established in 1998 and has its headquarters in Munich.

Landesbank Baden Wuttemberg

Based on its assets, Landesbank Baden Wuttemberg ranks as the sixth largest bank in Germany. As of 2014, it had assets worth €285 billion. It was founded in 1999 and has its headquarters in Stuttgart.

Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB)

The bank was founded in 1884 and has its headquarters in Munchen. Its assets were worth €257 billion as of march 2014.

Norddeutsche Landesbank (Nord/LB)

Norddeutchen Landesbank was founded in 1970 with its headquarters in Hanover. It had assets of €160 billion in 2018.  Its assets rank it in the eight positions of top banks in Germany.

Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen

The total assets rank this bank ninth in Germany.  It was founded in 1953 and has headquarters in Frankfurt and Erfurt. It had assets of €219 in 2020.

NRW Bank

The NRW Bank had assets of €147 billion in 2017. It was founded in 2002and is currently in Dusseldorf and Munster.

Digital banking in Germany

Even though there are banks that are strictly online, like Revolut, most banks in Germany are embracing digital banking. It has made the entire banking process seamless and enables users to transact on the global market. The fintech sector in Germany is also growing, offering users a myriad of finance solutions.

Revolut

If you need modern banking solutions in Germany, then Revolut is the bank to go for. The app-based banking solution was created and operates under Revolut Bank UAB. It prides itself in a seamless operating system that can make global transfers. Revolut is one of the most secure ways to transact online while in Germany.

Choosing a bank in Germany

With about 1,800 banks to choose from, it can be daunting to pick what works for you as a foreigner. Since one of the requirements when relocating to Germany is having a functioning bank account, you need to ensure you get one immediately. Here are a few features you need to keep in mind:

  • Location of the bank
  • Opening fees and operating fees
  • Documentation requirements
  • Services offered by the bank

How to open a bank account in Germany

Opening a bank account in Germany is simple. As long as you have all the right documents, you will be done in no time. Here are the simple steps to follow when opening an account:

Choose the right bank

Before you get started on opening the account, ensure you have the right bank in mind. The list above provides some of the most reliable bank accounts in the country.  Take a closer look at every one of them and go for what works best for you.

Get the required documents

There are certain documents you need before you can open a bank account. Do not miss out on any of them, as it will slow down the process. These are the documents you will need:

  • Valid passport or German ID
  • Proof of Address
  • Proof of income
  • Financial statement

Get the right kind of account

With a bank settled, ensure you also pick the right account. These are the main accounts you will encounter in the banks in Germany.

  • Current account (Girokonto). It is the most basic account and allows you to manage transactions as well as receive your salary.
  • Savings account (Sparkonto). It is designed to help you accumulate funds while earning you interest. You can still readily access funds from this account.
  • Student account (Studentenkonti). If you are a student, then this is perfect for you since it comes tailored for your use. It has lower fees and you can also get a free debit card and low-cost overdraft options.
  • Youth account (Jugendkonto). The account is similar to the student account but is available for younger individuals under 18 years old. It is perfect for teaching children financial control with parental controls.
  • Business account (Geschaftskonto). Used by entrepreneurs and businesses with features like invoicing and merchant services, as well as business loans.
  • Online-only account (onlinekonto). If you want an online account, then you can get one. These are only accessible online and have lower fees and convenient mobile apps.
  • Joint account (gemeinschaftskonto). It is used by two of more individuals and is suitable for couples, family members or business partners.
  • Foreign currency account (wahrungskonto). If you transact in multiple currencies then this would be perfect for you.
  • Non-resident accounts. These are perfect if you are not a resicdent of Germany. They help with international transactions and currency exhaled.

Different banks will have different features so it helps if you know what you need and if the bank you choose will work for you.

No matter the account you choose, all banks in Germany are regulated. As such, the difference in fees might not be so high. Do your research and ask around before you settle on a bank for your needs. 

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