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Business

German Banks Win Customers Amid Financial Crisis

German banks across the board have been steadily winning new customers as the financial crisis mounts, newly released statistics show.

Euro bills

People seem to feel their money in safer in the bank than in stocks -- or under the mattress

Rather than withdrawing money from banks to hide under the mattress, Germans appear to regard banks as the safest place, especially after a promise last month by Chancellor Angela Merkel that not one euro in banks will be lost.

The country's top commercial bank, Deutsche Bank, said Thursday, Oct. 16, on its Web site its customer base had grown net by 200,000 since the start of the year to nearly 10 million.

In the past five weeks, its net gain in new deposits amounted to 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion). Analysts said customers were moving out of market-driven investments such as stock into safer deposits.

UniCredit's German unit, HypoVereinsbank (HVB), said it had gained 400 million euros in deposits in the past four weeks, with term deposits and savings account in busy use, but the number of customers had remained much the same.

Commerzbank personal banking chief Achim Kassow said his commercial bank had booked 183,000 new customers in the third quarter to a total 6 million, while deposits grew 4.5 billion euros.

The big banks have advertised heavily this year and made special offers of higher introductory interest rates.

Trustees savings banks said they had also noted inflows of funds, while Germany's cooperative banking federation BVR said cooperative banks had increased their market share as lenders to small businesses this year.

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