Banking: German compliments
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Banking: German compliments

In the small German city of Bochum on March 31, Bundesbank executive board member Andreas Dombret made a heartfelt paean to Rolf Gerlach, exiting president of one of Germany’s savings banks associations, at the latter’s leaving do.

Dombret likened Gerlach to popular German musician Herbert Grönemeyer’s “Bochum”, an ode to the titular city: “You don’t like wearing make-up / You’re an honest place / Your heartbeat’s of metal / It hammers out through the night.”

Beautiful! We think.

Dombret used much of the rest of his time to expound on the challenges facing Germany’s savings banks and defend recent guidelines published by the EBA and ECB on assessing the suitability and personal responsibility of members of financial institutions’ management — something German politicians and banking associations have largely criticised. He even went as far as to (gasp!) suggest Landesbanks need to consolidate, given their challenging environment.   Dombret ended his speech once again citing Grönemeyer’s poetic examination of Bochum, in which he “can’t help seeing some of Dr Gerlach’s traits”, recalling the line that the city is “no great beauty, for work’s lined your face”. He then congratulated Gerlach on his upcoming volunteer work by citing German poet Wilhelm Busch: “Deeds of charity impart no honour for, cutting away like a scissor, the desire for applause will diminish your cause.”

Quite an encomium for Gerlach.

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