Sparkassen als Akteure einer integrierten Regionalentwicklung: Potential für die Zukunft oder Illusion?

Sparkassen als Akteure einer integrierten Regionalentwicklung: Potential für die Zukunft oder Illusion? Gelsenkirchen: Inst. Arbeit und Technik. Graue Reihe des Instituts Arbeit und Technik, Nr. 2003-05

Gärtner, Stefan


Public savings banks in German cities and regions are influential players in urban and regional development. They know the specific problems and the endogenous potentials of local and regional economies and they have the required contacts to relevant local and regional actors. Such local competence and networks make them important economic development promoters for the cities and regions they are located in.

Although the long conflict with the EU Competition Commission has been resolved, the specific German system of decentralized savings banks remains under great pressure. The established municipal guarantee of a savings bank in case of bankruptcy will end in the year 2005. This will not only increase the refinancing costs of the banks, it will also change the perception of savings banks as municipal or regional institutions. At present it is unclear how the close-knit relationship between the local banks and the public sector authorities will develop and whether they are able to sustain their traditional role as promoters of the local and regional economy.
Such uncertainty, however, is a good reason to explore the role of local savings banks for urban and regional development in greater detail. This publication aims at giving an overview over the structure and current development activities of public savings banks. Based on a concise account of present challenges and aims of urban and regional development, the author examines the options savings banks have in maintaining their traditional role as key local development agents.

The publication is based on a master degree dissertation, submitted to the School of Planning of the University of Dortmund. Due to its outstanding contribution to the knowledge of municipal self-administration the dissertation was awarded a special prize by the Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (German Institute of Urban Affairs) in 2003.

For this publication the dissertation has been reviewed, updated and extended. It aims at a broad range of target groups, at decision-makers from local and regional savings banks and at politicians, at members of administrative boards as well as at regional planners and staff of local economic development agencies, at scientists and decision-makers who have a strong interest in the continuing valuable contribution of savings banks to balanced economic development of cities and regions.

Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerd Hennings,
Department of Local Economic Development in Spatial Planning, and

Univ. Prof. Dr. Klaus R. Kunzmann,
Department of Spatial Planning in Europe, Faculty of Spatial Planning, University of Dortmund

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