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Monday, August 12th 2013, 3:17am

German Banks and Financial Institutions

Repository for data pertaining to the subject


Monday, August 12th 2013, 3:18am

Deutsche Bank AG

This institution, one of the largest of banks in Germany, was founded in 1870 specifically to foster Germanys foreign trade  prior to its founding German merchants were forced to rely upon the credit markets of London and Amsterdam for the financing of their trade abroad. While the banks headquarters remained in Berlin, it quickly opened branch offices in Bremen and Hamburg, then the leading centres of international trade. In 1873 it opened a branch in London, and by 1882 it had established offices in Paris and New York.

In addition to financing overseas trade the firm acted a deposit bank and a provider of short and long-term credit to industry, leading the way for it to become one of the first universal banks. While generating its own growth the bank also grew through the acquisition of other financial institutions, including the Berliner Bankvereins (1876) and the Deutschen Union-Bank (1876). In 1886 it founded the Deutschen Übersee-Bank, a subsidiary that opened the South American market and facilitated the export of German products to that region. In 1889 it joined with thirteen other financial institutions to found the Deutsch-Asiatischen Bank to underwrite the activities of German merchants in East Asia. At home the Deutsche Bank helped to fund the expansion of German industry  investing in firms including the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft, Siemens und Halske, the Mannesmannröhren-Werke and a number of steel mills located in the Ruhr District. The bank was prominent in the financing of large-scale projects abroad, including the Deutsch-Überseeische Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft, which operated large-scale electricity generating plants in Argentina and the Anatolische Eisenbahngesellschaft, formed to construct the portion of the Berlin to Baghdad Railway that lay within the Ottoman dominions.

In the years prior to the Great War the bank expanded its network through the acquisition of a number of regional banks across the nation, by this means extending its facilities to many of the middling-sort of firms needing credit to expand their business. This policy was continued after the conclusion of hostilities, with no fewer than ten institutions being absorbed in the years between 1920 and 1928. In 1929 the bank merged with the Disconto-Gesellschaft, the second largest bank in Germany at that time.

The Deutschen Übersee-Bank, with its offices in Argentina and Chile, and the sister-institution, the Zentralamerika-Bank, were combined in 1922 to create the Banco Alemán Transatlántico, which remains one of the largest subsidiaries of the Deutsche Bank today.


Tuesday, August 13th 2013, 2:56pm

Dresdner Bank AG

This institution was founded in November 1872 upon the foundations of the long-established Bankhaus Kaskel, under the leadership of financiers Carl Freiherr von Kaskel, Felix Freiherr von Kaskel und Eugen Gutmann, the latter serving as the first managing director. It was able to weather the financial crisis of 1873 and grew rapidly through the acquisition of other banks  the Sächsischen Bankvereins in 1873, the Dresdner Handelsbank in 1874, the Sächsischen Creditbank in 1877 and the Thüringischen Landesbank in 1878. The bank opened a branch in Berlin in 1881 and subsequently moved its headquarters thence, though legally still incorporated in Dresden. In 1891 it absorbed the private Bankhaus Robert Thode and in 1892 it acquired the Anglo-Deutsche Bank of Hamburg, which functioned as its branch in Hamburg.

As the pace of German economic development increased, so did the expansion of the bank; branches were established in all major trading centres throughout the nation, and the bank increased its association with industry, becoming a major universal bank. It moved abroad in 1893 it took part in founding the Banca Commerciale Italiana of Milan, in 1903 it joined the Darmstädter und Nationalbank in founding the Deutsch-Südamerikanischen Bank and in 1905 established the Deutsch-Westafrikanische Bank and the Deutschen Orientbank in conjunction with the same partner. It also continued to absorb other established financial institutions  acquiring the famous Frankfurt Bankhaus Erlanger und Söhne in 1904 and the Deutsche Genossenschaftsbank that same year. In 1915 it took control of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Disconto-Gesellschaft zu Aachen and established a strong relationship with the heavy industrial concerns of the Rhenish-Westphalian region.

The bank played a pivotal role in the early recovery from the financial distress occasioned by the aftermath of the Great War and helped many firms to weather that stormy period. In the 1920s the bank continued to develop its domestic branch network. In 1931 it acquired the Darmstädter und Nationalbank, one of the largest banks in the nation. In 1934 it merged with the Österreichische Länderbank of Vienna and in 1935 acquired the assets of Bankhaus Gebrüder Arnhold of Dresden.


Tuesday, August 13th 2013, 8:13pm

Commerzbank AG

Founded in 1870 in Hamburg as the Commerz und Disconto-Bank this institution is the third largest universal bank in the nation. Its initial focus was the financing of international trade from its base in Hamburg but by 1897 it had opened branches in Berlin and Frankfurt; however, after 1905, it changed its strategy and began to grow nationally through the acquisition of smaller regional banks. In that year it acquired the Berliner Bank AG; the current corporate style was adopted in 1911 and in 1912 the headquarters of the bank moved to Berlin.

In the wake of the Great War the firm made great strides in expanding its domestic branch network by absorbing a number of other banks including Mitteldeutschen Privatbank of Magdeburg (1920), the Hessischer Bankverein (1925), the Mitteldeutschen Creditbank of Frankfurt (1929) and the Barmer Bankverein (1932). It also established branch offices abroad, including France, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania and Latvia.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2013, 1:08am

Österreichische Creditanstalt AG

This firm was founded in 1855 by Baron Anselm Salomon von Rothschild, head of the Austrian branch of the House of Rothschild, as the kaiserlich und königlich privilegierte Österreichische Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe, a joint stock bank that in time would finance much of the industrial growth of the Hapsburg Monarchy and in turn control many enterprises across the Danube basin. Its early ventures included the Kaiser Ferdinands-Nordbahn, the Österreichische Südbahn and the great Witkowitzer Eisenwerke. It subsequently became a universal bank, operating numerous branches across Austria, Hungary and Bohemia, as well as offices abroad. It remains very much under the control of the Rothschild family, and Ludwig Nathaniel Freiherr von Rothschild continues to serve as its managing director.

The bank suffered the loss of many of its overseas investments in the wake of the Great War, though it did receive compensation for the loss of properties in Czechoslovakia and Hungary pursuant to nostrification laws there. During the latter portion of the 1920s the firm recovered, and in 1926 acquired the assets of the Anglo-Österreichische Bank. With the union of the Austrian provinces into the Reich, the bank entered into a new era of expansion, being among the first of the great German banks to penetrate the markets of southeastern Europe.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2013, 3:37am

Wiener Bankverein AG

Founded in 1869 through the amalgamation of several smaller financial institutions, the Wiener Bankverien played a significant role in the development of the Hapsburg monarchy throughout the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. It was particularly dominant in the financing of the iron industry of the Hungarian half of the Empire. In 1910 in absorbed the smaller Unionbank of Wien, and at the outbreak of the Great War held prominent positions in banks in Prague and Budapest. The bank suffered considerable losses due to the breakup of the Hapsburg monarchy but was able to survive due to support from other Austrian banking institutions and the strength of its extensive branch network and strong base of depositors.

With the union of the Austrian provinces to the rest of the Reich the bank was able to expand its branch network more widely and was a beneficiary of the increase in investment in the Austrian provinces themselves. While it has not regained its former international position, the Wiener Bankverein remains a major force in trade and finance throughout southeastern Europe.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2013, 2:20pm

Johann Berenberg, Gossler und Compagnie KG

This Hamburg banking house is primarily a merchant bank and a private bank, organised as limited partnership with personally liable partners. Founded by the Berenberg family, emigrants from Antwerp in modern Belgium, in 1590, it is the oldest bank in existence in Germany and the second oldest bank in the world. Since its establishment, the bank has been continuously owned by a Hanseatic family dynasty comprising the three related families Berenberg, Gossler and Seyler, making it the world's oldest family-owned bank.

The firm was originally a merchant house active in large-scale import-export, and became involved in both shipping and merchant banking in the Seventeenth Century. Today it is one of the leading independent merchant banks and private banks of Europe. Its core areas are investment banking, institutional asset management, private banking for wealthy private customers and commercial banking. The firm adopted its current style in 1791.

In the Nineteenth Century, the firm financed industrialisation in Hamburg and transportation activities, and was strongly involved in the North American trade and its finance. The company was one of the main founders of the Hamburg America Line in 1847 and the Norddeutscher Lloyd in 1857. It was also one of the main founders of Vereinsbank Hamburg (1857), the Ilseder Hütte ironworks (1858), and the Norddeutsche Versicherungs AG (1857). Furthermore, it was among the founding shareholders of Bergens Privatbank (1855), Den Danske Landmandsbank (1871) and the Svenska Handelsbanken.

It has its head office in Hamburg and operates branches in Bielefeld, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Braunschweig, Wien and Salzburg, as well as representative offices in London, Zurich, Paris and New York.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2013, 9:02pm

Allgemeine Bodencreditanstalt AG

This financial institution, based in Wien, was founded in 1863 as the kaiserlich-königlich privilegiert Allgemeine Österreichische Boden-Credit-Anstalt, with the business of financing railway construction and providing finance based upon mortgage, which it did throughout the Hapsburg Crown Lands. At the century, it financed the conversion of large private factories into joint-stock companies, often taking significant shareholding on its own account. The bank was hit hard by the financial crisis engendered by the Great War, and survived only by the intervention of the House of Rothschild; however, with the return of peace the bank was able to recover some of its lost or frozen assets and by the late 1920s had resumed its leading role in the Austrian financial market. With the union of the Austrian provinces into the Reich the Bodencreditanstalt moved aggressively into the wider market of the Reich while at the same time establishing itself in the growing investment market in southeastern Europe.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2013, 10:42pm

Deutsche Schiffsbank AG

This specialist financial institution was founded in 1918 as the Deutsche Schiffsbeleihungs-Bank AG to support the reconstruction of the German merchant fleet following the losses in the Great War. By creation of so-called ship mortgages (Schiffshypotheken, Schiffspfandbriefe) specialist shipping banks were able to market securities to investors in smaller denominations or who were otherwise remote from the shipping industry. This permitted shipping companies to finance construction of modern vessels at far lower cost than might otherwise have been required, without the need for direct government subsidy. In 1935 the Hamburg-based Deutsche Schiffsbeleihungs-Bank merged with the Berlin-based Deutsche Schiffspfandbriefbank to form the present Deutsche Schiffsbank. The bank has recently moved into the international market, offering ship mortgages for foreign-flag vessels constructed in German shipyards, a move which has increased the competitive position of the latter.


Thursday, October 24th 2013, 1:57am

Bankhaus Bleichröder-Arnhold KG

This famous banking house was founded in 1803 by Samuel Bleichröder as an exchange house in Berlin. In 1828 Bleichröder became the Berlin correspondent of the Rothschilds of Frankfurt, and as such developed a close relationship with the Prussian Government. Upon the death of the founder in 1855, his son, Gerson Bleichröder continued the business, and the house became a major financier of Prussian expansion during the latter Nineteenth Century. It was involved in the Prussia Consortium and raised money for the Austro Prussian War through the sale of Government bonds; it handled French reparations in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and funded the nationalisation of the Prussian railways. In the last quarter of the century the house became a leading investor in industrial and railway ventures in southeastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire, including the famous Berlin-Baghdad Railway.

Following the Great War the Bleichröder firm suffered greatly, with the loss of many of its overseas investments and government contacts. In 1926 it merged with the Bankhaus Gebrüder Arnhold of Dresden, which had not suffered as great a diminution of its assets as most of its financial interests were located within Germany. The combined firm was able to reenter the major capital markets and was prominent in promoting the flow of foreign capital to German industry in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Besides its branches within Germany the firm maintains representative offices in Paris and New York.


Thursday, October 24th 2013, 8:10pm

Gesellschaft für elektrische Unternehmungen GmbH

The company was founded in 1894 by the entrepreneur Isidor Loewe and his brother Ludwig Loewe, with the backing of the Allgemeinen Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft and several banks (the Darmstädter Bank, the Disconto-Gesellschaft, the Dresdner Bank, the Privatbanken Born und Busse and the Bankhaus Bleichröder). Loewe recognized early on the importance of electrical energy for industrial development and the business potential hidden therein. The firm operated as an investor for the creation and expansion of numerous electricity supplier, electric railway companies and other companies in the electrical industry. These included, inter alia,

Elektrizitätswerk Südwest AG, Berlin-Schöneberg (1899)
Elektrizitätswerk Wangen (Schweiz) (1898 / 1903)
Neckarwerke AG, Esslingen (1906)
Amperwerke AG, Munich (1908)
Elektricitätswerk Silesia AG, Breslau (1909)
Niedersächsische Kraftwerke AG, Ibbenbüren (1912)
Elektrizitätswerk Westerwald AG (1913)
Rheinkraftwerk Laufenburg (Switzerland) (1913)
Gas- und Elektrizitätswerk Singen AG (1930)
Leipziger Außenbahn AG, Leipzig (1900)
Coblenzer Straßenbahn-Gesellschaft (1903)
Solinger Kleinbahn AG, Solingen (1905)
Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG, Stuttgart (1906)
Norddeutsche Kabelwerke AG, Berlin (1910)

In 1929 the concern merged with the Actiengesellschaft für Gas, Wasser und Elektricitäts Anlagen, a similar venture organised by the Loewe Brothers in 1910.


Friday, October 25th 2013, 12:52am

Allianz Versicherungs AG

One of the worlds major insurance firms, this concern was founded in 1890 in Berlin, by Carl von Thieme, then director of the Munich Reinsurance Company, and Wilhelm von Finck, co-owner of the Bankhaus Merck Finck. The first Allianz products were marine and accident policies first sold only in Germany, however in 1893 Allianz opened its first international branch office in London. It distributed marine insurance coverage to German clientele looking for coverage abroad. In 1900 the company became the first insurer to obtain a license to distribute corporate policies. In 1904 Paul Von Naher took over the sole leadership of the company, as it moved into the American and other markets; by 1914 these included the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, Nordmark and Russia, and Allianz had become the largest maritime insurer in Germany.

In 1905 the company began to offer fire insurance, and in 1911 it began to sell machinery breakdown policies. Allianz remained the only company in the world that sold machine breakdown insurance until 1924. Then in 1918 it began to offer automobile insurance as well. In 1921 Von Naher passed away, and was succeeded by Kurt Schmitt. The company would begin to offer life insurance as of 1922, becoming Europe's largest offerer of the policies by the end of the 1920s. In 1927 Allianz merged with Stuttgarter Verein Versicherung AG, and in 1929 it absorbed the Frankfurter Versicherungs AG. In 1930 it acquired the Bayerische Versicherungsbank and the following year it acquired the largest Austrian insurance firm, Österreichische Elementarversicherungs AG

In 1932 the concern established a subsidiary, Allianz Zentrum für Technik, a material testing laboratory which conducts detailed testing and examination of new products and failure analysis of broken industrial equipment to determine corrective and preventive measures, supporting their findings with cost-benefit analysis.

The concern's services include property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance and asset management; at the present time, it employs more than thirteen thousand, six hundred workers.


Tuesday, October 29th 2013, 1:36am

Münchener Rückversicherungsgesellschaft AG

This concern is one of the world's largest reinsurance companies.

The German insurance industry of the nineteenth century had few of the inhibitions about reinsurance that characterized the then leading country in the insurance industry, the United Kingdom. The concern was not the first reinsurance company to be established in Germany; however, it was the first to be totally independent of a primary insurance operation and soon became a driving force of this new branch of insurance. The company's founder, Carl Thieme had reached the sound but unfashionable conclusion that dependence on a primary insurer meant reinsurance operations had to take on a narrow range of often poor quality risks with frequently disastrous financial results. Instead, he sought to set up an independent reinsurance company which could choose its risks according to their quality and spread the risks by operating in all extant classes of insurance. Thieme, already an experienced and successful insurance agent in Munich, had developed good connections with the leading figures of the Bavarian financial world of the time. Chief among these was Theodor Cramer-Klett, who had been instrumental in developing in Bavaria a modern banking system capable of servicing the rapid industrialization that was going on in Germany under the protectionist policies of Otto von Bismarck.

In 1880 the concern was founded with an initial capital of three million gold marks; its shares were offered to the public in 1888 and by 1914 its capital had grown to twenty million gold marks. In terms of turnover, it had grown from a paltry one million marks in its first year of operations to more than 140 million gold marks in 1914.

The firm rapidly expanded beyond Germanys borders, opening offices in Wien in 1882, in St. Petersburg in 1885, New York in 1889 and London in 1890. The firm survived the financial upheaval of the Great War but faced severe drains on its reserves. Its recovery in the 1920s was facilitated by the continuance of business in the United States and by expansion into new insurance ventures. The concern played a pivotal role in the foundation of Hermes Kreditversicherungsbank, an export-credit-insurance operation designed to help stimulate German export trade in the postwar period. The firm has again established a strong position in the international reinsurance market, with offices in Nordmark, Turkey and Argentina.


Tuesday, August 12th 2014, 12:55am

Bankhaus Gebrüder Sulzbach

This well-known Frankfurt private bank was founded in 1856 by Siegmund Sulzbach and his younger brother Rudolf as Privatbankhaus S. Sulzbach, though in fact the younger brother was the driving force behind the firm. Its current style was adopted in December 1866. In the period of the Gründerzeit the house became one of the most influential banks in Germany, financing many of the new industries and transportation. The house was among the founders of the Deutsche Bank in 1870. Following the death of Rudolf Sulzbach in 1904 leadership of the house passed to his son Karl and in 1937 Walter Sulzbach, grandson of the founder, ascended to the chairmanship of the bank.


Thursday, August 14th 2014, 2:38am

Bankhaus Warburg KG

One of Germany’s largest independent private banks, this firm was founded in 1798 by the brothers Moses Marcus Warburg and Gerson Warburg, two members of the prominent Warburg family of Hamburg. The Warburg family still owns the bank. In its early days the bank functioned primarily in currency exchange and factoring, while today the core business areas of the house are private banking, asset management and investment banking. The bank's target clients are high net worth individuals, institutional investors and corporate clients.

Since 1867 the headquarters of the bank have been is located at 75 Ferdinand Street, Hamburg. Offices are maintained in Berlin, Frankfurt, Köln and München at home, and there are representative offices in London, Paris and New York. A network of corresponding offices is maintained around the world.


Thursday, August 14th 2014, 5:19pm

Bankhaus Donner und Reuschel AG

The bank was founded in 1798 by Conrad Hinrich Donner, a Hamburg merchant and ship-owner, and originally known as the Hamburger Banco. It originally operated as a merchant banking house, specialising in the import of colonial commodities, transportation and shipping. In the period following the Napoleonic Wars Conrad Donner came to function as the private banker of the King of Denmark in the latter’s capacity as Duke of Holstein.

Under the leadership of Conrad Hinrich Donner III, grandson of the founder, the bank participated in the creation of the Commerzbank, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and the Hamburger Electricitäts-Werke, in the process becoming one of Germany’s largest banking houses. Despite its gradual evolution into a full-time banking house the concern continues its business of financing trade and brokering on commission. In 1923 the firm merged with the Bankhaus Reuschel of München, expanding thereby its finance and trading activities into south-eastern Europe.


Thursday, August 14th 2014, 8:31pm

Bankhaus Löbbecke KG

In 1761, Johann Hermann and Johann Melchior Löbbecke founded the Handelshaus Löbbecke in Iserlohn, Germany. By 1763, the office in Braunschweig had become the principal branch of the company’s business, where Johann Melchior’s son Carl Friedrich Löbbecke served as managing director. At that time the firm dealt in haberdashery, jewellery, and metal-goods; by 1800 it had added cotton fabrics to its range of goods and expanded its lines of business to include exchange, brokerage and freight-forwarding.

In 1815 the house became the private bankers of the ruling dukes of Braunschweig, and became heavily involved in financing industrial development in that portion of Eastphalia. It catered to the upper classes and, until 1911, managed the Braunschweig state lottery.

In 1892 the house took over the management of the Braunschweigische Staatsbank, which had been founded in 1765 by Duke Karl of Braunschweig-Lüneburg as one of Germany’s first state banks. In the aftermath of the Great War the house extended its control over the former state bank, converting to a private limited company with a quarter of the share held by the fideikommiss of the house of Braunschweig. In 1930 the bank opened a branch office in Berlin.


Friday, August 15th 2014, 12:01am

Bankhaus Salomon Oppenheim KG

This private bank, one of the largest in Europe, was founded in 1789 in the city of Bonn by seventeen-year-old Salomon Oppenheim as a commissions and exchange house. Oppenheim dealt in commodities, the exchanging of foreign currencies, and extending credit through the discounting of notes. In 1798, the business moved to Köln, then the most important banking place in Germany. In 1828, Salomon Oppenheim died, and his wife Therese took over the direction of the bank along with their two sons, Simon and Abraham. Through the marriage of Abraham Oppenheim to Charlotte Beyfus in 1834, the family became closely related to the prominent Rothschild banking family in matters both personal and business-related.

The house was prominent in the early industrialisation of the Rheinprovinz of Prussia, financing such important concerns as the Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft and the Köln-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, founded in 1837 and 1843 respectively. In 1838, in partnership with the Schaaffhausen'scher Bankverein and the Bankhaus Herstatt, it founded the Colonia Versicherung; in 1852 it founded the Concordia Kölnische Lebensversicherung and in 1853 the Kölnische Hagelversicherung. That same year the house joined in the formation of the Darmstädter Bank.

In the economic boom that followed the unification of Germany in 1870 the house financed many of the industrial concerns then growing in the Ruhr industrial area, including such famous firms as the Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks AG, the Eschweiler Bergwerksvereins, the Gewerkschaft Fortuna, the Rheinischen AG für Braunkohlenbergbau und Brikettfabrikation and the Harpener Bergbau AG. It retains important shareholdings in this and many other industrial concerns. The house was prominent in the financing of the German war effort during the Great War; in the period of financial distress that followed the close of hostilities the house made a defensive merger with Bankhaus A. Levy, a move completed in 1922. The revival of the German economy in the latter 1920s and 1930s permitted the house to resume its role of financial German industrial expansion, participating in the creation of such major industrial firms as the VESTAG and the great Auto Union automotive enterprise.

The headquarters of the bank remain in Köln, while branch offices are maintained in Berlin, Wien, London, Paris and New York; correspondents of the bank can be found in any major commercial centre around the globe.


Friday, August 15th 2014, 4:03am

Niederösterreichische Escompte-Gesellschaft mbH

Founded in 1853 as one of the first investment banks in the Dual Monarchy, this bank was modelled on the Belgian Comptoir d'Escompte and the Berliner Diskonto-Gesellschaft. In its early days it concentrated on the discounting of bills and extending commercial credit, but from 1880 onwards it took a larger role in financing industrial and railway development in both the Austrian Crown Lands and the Kingdom of Hungary; it was particularly involved in the development of the Bohemian iron and steel industry through its subsidiary, the Böhmische Escompte-Bank und Creditanstalt.

The fall of the Hapsburg in 1917 and the breakup of the Dual Monarchy brought about the loss of many of the bank’s subsidiaries, and it was confined to the much smaller Austrian home market. This brought about its concentration on ordinary deposit banking, which it buttressed by the absorption of the Niederösterreichische Bauernbank in 1928 and the Bank für Tirol und Vorarlberg in 1930.

Since the union of the Austrian provinces with the Reich it has expanded its general banking business into southern Germany but also has resumed its role of banker to industry, participating the development of new industrial firms in south-eastern Europe.


Friday, August 15th 2014, 4:31pm

Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft KG

This financial institution was founded in July 1856 by a group of major Prussian private banks, including Bankhaus Bleichröder, Bankhaus Breest und Gelpcke, Bankhaus Magnus, Bankhaus Mendelssohn and Bankhaus Oppenheim as a partnership limited by shares. From the outset the bank was engaged in financing of railway construction in Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire; it also undertook a growing interest in the financing of industry.

In 1883 Carl Fürstenberg became managing director of the bank and turned the Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft into one of the leading institutions for industrial financing of the time. Close ties were maintained with such important industrialists as Walter Rathenau and the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft. The activity of the bank spanned central Germany, Silesia, and the industrial heartland of the Ruhr. It was also an important feature of state finance, handling bonds not only of Prussia and the German Empire, but of the Russian Empire as well.

Following the Great War the bank continued its ties with industry, adding financing of international commerce and short-term commercial lending to its activities. In 1920 it acquired the assets of the Bankhaus William Rosenheim; by 1931 its assets exceeded 370 million Reichsmarks.