BayernLB

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BayernLB
Private
Industry Finance and Insurance
Founded 1972
Headquarters München, Germany
Products Financial Services
Website www.bayernlb.de

BayernLB or Bayerische Landesbank (Bavarian State Bank) is a publicly regulated bank based in Munich, Germany and one of the eight Landesbanken. It is 94% owned by the free state of Bavaria (indirectly via BayernLB Holding AG) and 6% owned by the Sparkassenverband Bayern, the umbrella organization of Bavarian Sparkassen. With a balance of €416 billion and 19,200 employees (in the group; 5,170 in the bank itself), it is the eighth-largest financial institution in Germany.

Main business activities[edit]

As a commercial bank, BayernLB offers private and commercial customers a universal range of services in private, industrial, investment and foreign business. This includes loans, securities trading and asset management, as well as mid-term and long-term bond issuance and securitization. The bank is refinanced through a variety of commercial debenture instruments.

As a state and municipal bank, BayernLB is responsible for comprehensive credit and financial counsel for the state of Bavaria and its municipalities and districts.

Through its subsidiaries, the bank is involved in a variety of further business areas. The Bayerische Landesbodenkreditanstalt is an organ of state housing policy, while the LBS Bayern is a public building society (Bausparkasse). Through its full ownership of the Deutsche Kreditbank, based in Berlin, BayernLB is also involved in retail banking.

History[edit]

The Munich headquarters of the
Bayerische Landesbank

Through its predecessor, the Bayerische Gemeindebank (founded 1914), and its much older subsidiary, the Bayerische Landesbodenkreditanstalt (founded 1884), BayernLB can claim to have more than 100 years of history. In its current form, the bank was founded by law on June 27, 1972, through the merger of the two institutions. Its first President was CSU veteran politician Karl Theodor Jacob. Later managers and Board members would also frequently be drawn from politics.

The bank expanded internationally in the 1990s, gaining toeholds in East Asia, Eastern Europe and the United States. Through the 2007 acquisition of a 50.01% share in Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International for a sum of €1.625 billion, BayernLB expanded its geographic presence to Austria and the Balkans.

Involvement in the mortgage crisis[edit]

In early 2008 it was revealed that BayernLB had made large losses due to investments in sub-prime mortgage securities in the United States. Although the extent of these investments has been the topic of speculation, it was revealed from the company's Q2 2008 financial report that over €24 billion had been invested in critical securities, with losses of €2.3 billion in 2007 and a further €2 billion in the first quarter of 2008.[1]

The heavy public criticism took its first toll in March 2008 when CEO Werner Schmidt resigned less than a week after the bank wrote down €1.9 billion as a result of the US subprime crisis.[2] The crisis also consumed the governing CSU party and its chairman, Erwin Huber, who as Bavarian Minister of Finance was the acting chair of the bank's Administrative Council and was accused of covering up the extent of losses.[3] The bank and the losses were major factors in the September, 2008 parliamentary elections, in which the CSU had its worst election result since 1962 and Huber resigned. Later that year, BayernLB became the first German financial institution to accept assistance from the federal government’s €500 billion rescue package.[4] The state of Bavaria injected €10 billion in capital into the lender and gave it €4.8 billion in guarantees.[5]

The bank's shares slipped more than 2% after the country's central bank said it was time to roll back some of its economic support measures after recent crisis. The bank representatives advise economy was not ready for an increase in borrowing costs, and so the goal is to keep interest rates on hold. But it said it would end some of the measures it had introduced during the global downturn to increase the amount of money in the financial system. The German economy later recovered from recession but growth has flatlined since 2012. This is in stark contrast to more developed economies that fell into recession.

Post-crisis developments[edit]

In 2010, BayernLB held preliminary talks over a possible merger with WestLB but discussions were broken off after only a few weeks. That same year, it became the first of Germany’s bailed-out Landesbanken to return to profitability, making pre-tax profits of about €800 million.[6] By 2014, BayernLB returned €1.1 billion to its state owner Bavaria;[7] in 2016, it repaid another €1.3 billion.[8]

In 2016, BayernLB entered into a partnership with Standard Chartered through which the latter will help finance Asian operations for German export-oriented small and medium-sized businesses.[9]

Notable legal cases[edit]

In the early 2000s, BayernLB made headlines with a succession of legal scandals. In 2010, the bank’s former chief risk officer was arrested after he received an alleged $50 million corrupt payment in connection with the bank’s 2005 sale of a stake in Formula One motor racing.[10]

In a 2012 suit filed in a New York court, BayernLB asserted that Deutsche Bank sold residential mortgage-backed securities to external clients while secretly criticizing them within the bank and ultimately profiting from their failure. By 2014, both banks agreed to settle the $810 million lawsuit out of court.[11]

A number of legal cases over BayernLB’s €1.66 billion acquisition of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International Group AG in 2007 have marred relations between Bavaria and its southern neighbor Austria.[12] In 2014, former chief executive Werner Schmidt was found guilty of bribing the late Austrian politician Jörg Haider to facilitate the acquisition.[13] In what was the first case in Germany to put management board members on trial for overpaying for an acquisition, seven former BayernLB executives went on trial over claims they overpaid by €550 million when they purchased the majority stake of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BayernLB, Press release from April 3rd, 2008: BayernLB trotz Finanzmarktkrise mit positivem Ergebnis Archived March 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Rachel Morarjee and Ralph Atkins (February 20, 2008), Schmidt set to step down at BayernLB Financial Times.
  3. ^ spiegel.de from April 3rd, 2008
  4. ^ Chris Bryant (October 19, 2008), BayernLB to tap €500bn rescue fund Financial Times.
  5. ^ Jens Hack and Arno Schuetze (October 30, 2014), BayernLB repays some state aid after selling toxic assets Reuters.
  6. ^ James Wilson (January 31, 2011), BayernLB returns to profit Financial Times.
  7. ^ Jens Hack and Arno Schuetze (October 30, 2014), BayernLB repays some state aid after selling toxic assets Reuters.
  8. ^ Arno Schuetze (February 3, 2016), BayernLB to pay back 1.3 bln eur of bailout in April Reuters.
  9. ^ Joshua Franklin and Andreas Kroener (November 10, 2016), Germany's BayernLB teams up with Standard Chartered for Asia push Reuters.
  10. ^ James Wilson (January 31, 2011), BayernLB returns to profit Financial Times.
  11. ^ Thomas Atkins, Kathrin Jones and Jonathan Stempel (August 14, 2014), Deutsche Bank, BayernLB agree to settle $810 million U.S. suit Reuters.
  12. ^ Oliver Suess (March 25, 2015), BayernLB Hit by Heta Writedown of at Least $1.3 Billion Bloomberg Business.
  13. ^ Gabriele Steinhauser (October 27, 2014), Former BayernLB Chief Found Guilty of Bribery Wall Street Journal.
  14. ^ Karin Matussek (January 27, 2014), M&A on Trial Has Ex-BayernLB Bank Managers Risking Prison Bloomberg Business.

External links[edit]