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Germany Monitor

In the "Germany Monitor" series we address political and structural issues which have great significance for Germany. These include commentaries on elections and political decisions, as well as technology and industry issues, and macro-economic topics which go beyond the business cycle matters addressed in "Focus Germany".

13 Documents
March 24, 2020
Region:
1
We identify the impact of negative rates on household portfolios in Germany. Real returns on cash and deposits stood at -1.2% in Q1 2019. Due to that, Germans lost around EUR 150 in real terms in 2019 per person, compared to the 1991-2014 average. The aggregate loss including claims on insurance for a representative household was roughly EUR 540 per year. The richest 10% of Germans hold 60% of the financial wealth and probably have significantly higher losses. In 2019, net lending to private households in Germany reached a new record of EUR 59.5 bn (+4.8% yoy). Mortgages saw a record increase of EUR 53 bn (5.3% yoy). Deposits rose by EUR 41.1 bn in the seasonally strong final quarter. In 2020, mortgage growth is likely to slump, even stagnate. The corona virus pandemic will probably lead to a reduction in household income and possibly to bottlenecks in the issuance of building permits. [more]
February 24, 2020
Region:
Analyst:
2
German retail clients have shown relatively little interest in passive investment alternatives, compared to traditional mutual funds. Robo-advisors, which primarily invest in ETFs, have seen the number of their clients and AuM grow. German robo-advisors could manage about EUR 25-35 bn in 2025, up from EUR 4 bn today. Their pioneer clients are largely male, middle-aged and high-income. They value full control and autonomy in their financial decisions and deal with financial matters mostly online. Still, they visit bank branches quite frequently. [more]
December 18, 2019
Region:
3
ETFs have gained in popularity among private investors who have expanded their ETF investment multiple times in recent years to approximately EUR 35 bn. Nonetheless, ETFs remain a niche product for private investors considering that their total mutual fund assets amount to EUR 622 bn. ETFs have been introduced as passive investment vehicles, but active ETF management is on the rise. The sustained low-interest rate environment could allow ETFs to tap into new client segments. In Q3, loans to German households were up by a record EUR 17.9 bn qoq, driven by a record surge of EUR 16.3 bn in mortgages. Deposits grew by EUR 13.6 bn – the smallest increase in seven quarters. The fact that some banks impose negative rates on deposits seems to create negative sentiment among German savers. [more]
August 30, 2019
Region:
4
The number of bank branches in Germany has declined sharply, to 28,000 in 2018 from around 40,000 in 2007. With 33 bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants, branch density in Germany is still relatively high. Almost 70% of Germans visit a branch at least once per month. Clients who have a loan or a private pension plan or are a FinTech user are more likely to visit a bank branch, in contrast to Millennials and less wealthy Germans. In Q2, loans to German households were up by a record EUR 16.9 bn qoq and 4.4% yoy. Mortgages surged by EUR 13.2 bn and consumer loans grew dynamically by EUR 2.9 bn, too. Deposits again rose strongly by EUR 34.4 bn. [more]
June 18, 2019
Region:
5
Mortgage loans in Germany have risen to EUR 1,240 bn in recent years (+29% since 2011) thanks to the strong economy and falling interest rates. To account for increased risks for the banks, supervisory authorities decided at the end of May to activate the countercyclical capital buffer for the first time. E.g., almost half of all new loans now have a rate fixation period of more than 10 years. Banks’ business with private households got off to a strong start in 2019. Net lending in the first quarter amounted to EUR 8.8 bn and deposits increased by EUR 21.8 bn, both record figures for the beginning of the year. Both mortgages and consumer loans grew strongly. [more]
March 5, 2019
Region:
6
Saving money is near and dear to Germans. Remarkably, Germans increase their saving rate in the second half of retirement. Those aged 75 and older save for a potential emergency situation and in order to bequeath and thereby improve their heirs’ living conditions. High intergenerational transfers might affect wealth distribution in a society in the long run. In 2018, banks in Germany benefited from record volumes of new retail loans (EUR 48.9 bn) and net flows into household deposits (EUR 108.7 bn). Mortgages accounted for the lion’s share of new loans. Consumer lending was above average in 2018, but lost momentum in the last quarter. [more]
February 12, 2019
Region:
Analyst:
7
Robo-advice is a new breed in asset management. Robos’ assets under management have been growing quickly in Germany. However, the market is increasingly becoming concentrated and competitive. Robo portfolios have shown relatively robust performance recently. Yet the high costs of robo-advice in Germany are a drag on returns and may alienate potential customers. Current clients, meanwhile, are mostly middle-age, higher-income men rather than millennials. [more]
December 20, 2018
Region:
8
Germans are known as heavy cash users. In 2017, they paid cash for most of their purchase transactions. If they do not use cash, they prefer to pay by direct debit or card. Credit transfers and e-money payments are used less often. Germans initiated almost one fifth of cashless payments via the internet. Mobile payments were rarely used but this will likely change given a number of new mobile payment services came on the market in 2018. In Q3, German households took out an impressive EUR 16 bn in net new loans, the highest quarterly figure since the introduction of the euro. Of this, EUR 13 bn came from mortgages, while consumer lending lost some pace. Deposit inflows were buoyant for a Q3 and German households increased their savings rate to 10.7%. [more]
October 19, 2018
Region:
9
German households hold a higher share of their savings in bank deposits than their French or British peers. But their portfolios are more diversified than perception suggests if all low-risk/low-return investments are taken into account. They invest meaningfully in stock markets, both directly and indirectly. The recent upward trend though may be driven by the low interest rate environment. In Q2, household lending in Germany continued to grow dynamically at 3.8% yoy, driven solely by mortgage loans. However, mortgage growth has not increased much recently despite the benign economic situation and booming real estate markets. Consumer loans declined for the first time in five years. Meanwhile, deposits saw exceptionally large inflows, with maturities shortening further. [more]
July 25, 2018
Region:
10
The number of FinTech start-ups in Germany has surged in recent years. They are mostly active in crowd funding and payments. Online payment schemes offered by FinTechs or BigTechs have already become the most popular way to pay for internet purchases. Meanwhile, the biggest focus of blockchain start-ups in Germany is on financial services. Many FinTechs cooperate with banks which like them for their innovative solutions. [more]
August 22, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
11
In Germany, the number of successful technology start-ups with a novel product is lagging behind in an international context. Considering the key role of start-ups in innovative entrepreneurship and their contribution to the real economy, reasons and key points of action to increase start-up activity should be identified. Excessive red-tape is a major hindrance and mainstream political parties are aiming to reduce excessive bureaucracy in start-up creation. Improved access to bank lending and venture capital investments are necessary to broaden post-launch funding alternatives. Brexit could be boon especially for the start-up scene in Berlin if relocation formalities are lowered. Enhancing a “can-do” culture and taking entrepreneurship among immigrants into account in policymaking have paramount importance, too. The Nordic start-up ecosystem provides important takeaways to boost start-up creation. [more]
April 15, 2014
Region:
12
In our empirical analysis we investigate the substitution between weak bank lending and lush bond markets and we show that rising bank CDS spreads are consistently associated with positive growth in securities underwriting and negative growth in loan syndication. This suggests that banks and clients switch funding instruments in times of financial stress. In this regard, a well-developed bond market is an important element to increase financial resilience as it offers an alternative source of funding for the real economy and an alternative source of revenue to banks. However, we also note a worrying trend towards financial fragmentation during times of stress which limits diversification potential. [more]
7.6.3