The Association of German Banks (BdB) is the voice of the private banks: as a leading trade association, it coordinates, shapes and represents the interests of the private banking industry and acts as a mediator between the private banks, policymakers, administrators, consumers and the business sector. The BdB’s membership comprises more than 200 private banks and 11 regional associations. It employs some 160 staff at its offices in Berlin and Brussels.
The BdB is politically independent, pro-European and stands for a market economy as well as a strong German and European financial centre. It identifies pertinent national and international developments, particularly regulatory and legislative initiatives, assesses the impact of political action on banks, works out common positions and supports its members in implementing statutory and regulatory requirements in banking practice.
In its role as a mediator, the BdB conducts an intensive dialogue with national and international social groups. For example, it promotes understanding between policymakers and the business sector by presenting practice-oriented arguments and informs the public about where the private banks stand on specific issues. It also takes part in public debate, speaking as the voice of the private banks, and contributes on behalf of its members to the political opinion-shaping process.
The BdB also runs the private banks’ deposit protection system. This has two pillars: the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks (Entschädigungs-einrichtung deutscher Banken (EdB)), set up in 1998 as the statutory deposit guarantee scheme, and the voluntary Deposit Protection Fund, established in 1976, which provides deposit protection beyond the level prescribed by law.
In 1992, the BdB launched an Ombudsman Scheme to handle disputes between customers and private banks. Independent ombudsmen and ombudswomen – retired senior judges and ministry officials – help customers to resolve such disputes unbureaucratically out of court.