Business position: Leading retail position in German markets (p.5)
'We expect the sector to maintain its strong business position as the second-largest financial services group in Germany. This reflects the member banks' highly predictable business volumes resulting from a strong position in domestic retail banking, including various complementary products, and a sound level of diversification achieved from its nationwide presence in Europe's largest economy.
The sector's business stability mainly builds on close to 1,000 local cooperative banks, which service more than 30 million domestic customers and are owned by about 18.3 million members. The local cooperative banks own the sector central bank, DZ BANK AG, which in turn consolidates the sector's various specialized product providers. The National Association of German Cooperative Banks (Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken e.V.; BVR) is responsible through its governing bodies for risk monitoring and strategic coordination across all regions within the decentralized sector. Its tasks also comprise the administration of the sector's mutual protection scheme, whose goal is to protect the solvency of its member banks'