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Banking

German banking: The quest for a German national champion

They’re proud of their embassies in Berlin. Take a tour of the German capital and soon after passing the building shared by five Nordic countries your guide will point to three more embassies clustered together – those of South Africa, India and… Baden-Württemberg. It’s a symbol of Germany’s decentralization that is particularly apparent in its banking system. So is there room for – or even need of – a national champion? Philip Moore reports.

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IT SAYS MUCH about Germany that almost two decades after reunification, and several years after the creation of the eurozone, states of the German federation such as Baden-Württemberg feel that they need to maintain individual embassies in the German capital, while the sovereign nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden get by with a shared building. Then again, the economy of Baden-Württemberg is so different to that of Berlin that it might as well be a foreign country.

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