Sparkasse HagenHerdecke and Lüdenscheid’s Merger

SPIEKER & JAEGER advised on the merger, which marks the latest of a number of mergers by German savings banks (‘Sparkassen’).

Westphalia-based Sparkasse HagenHerdecke and Sparkasse Lüdenscheid merge their business operations this year. The combined entity will be named Sparkasse an Volme und Ruhr. “One of the core problems of such a merger of savings banks is that the legal regulations of savings bank law on the one hand and antitrust law on the other hand are hardly coordinated,” said Dr Thomas Thiede LLM, partner at SPIEKER & JAEGER. “Banking law provides that only neighbouring savings banks can merge – antitrust law, however, evaluates the merger in directly neighbouring markets quite critically.”

In light of the decrepit road connections between the two regions, SPIEKER & JAEGER’s Dr Achim Herbertz added: “The fiasco involving the run-down bridges may have had a positive effect after all. At present, it is hardly possible to get from Lüdenscheid to Hagen quickly and vice versa from Hagen to Lüdenscheid. The circumstance of the directly neighbouring markets may have had less of an effect this way.”

Earlier this year, SPIEKER & JAEGER advised on the merger of the Dortmund and Schwerte savings banks, whose considerable market share in their respective cities merited close scrutiny by the German Federal Cartel Office (‘FCO’). It was found that the savings banks generally operated in the territory of their parent municipalities, meaning that the institutions involved were not quite genuine competitors. As a result, very few citizens of Schwerte were actually customers of the savings bank in Dortmund and vice versa. “There are no disadvantages to the detriment of consumers,” commented Dr Thomas Thiede.

SPIEKER & JAEGER advised Sparkassen with a team comprising partners Dr Thomas Thiede, Dr Achim Herbertz and Kay U Koeppen.

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Sparkasse an Volme und Ruhr:

“Two high-performing partners are joining forces and thus setting the course for a successful future.”

The merger of the Sparkasse HagenHerdecke and Lüdenscheid will come together to form “Sparkasse an Volme und Ruhr”, from 31 August 2022.

After initially arriving at discussions in autumn 2021, advanced talks of the merger of the two savings banks, Hagen-Herdecke and Lüdenscheid, then began. All regulatory requirements as well as all committee-dependent requirements have been met. The legal merger took effect retrospectively from 1 January 2022.

Day one of the new ‘Sparkasse an Volme und Ruhr’ company will begin on Wednesday 31 August  2022.

The final approvals only arrived very recently in late August 2022; the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Finance and the Arnsberg District Government approved the merger.

The board members of the two savings banks are looking forward to a new chapter. “Two high-performing partners are joining forces and thus setting the course for a successful future,” emphasised Markus Hacke, CEO of Sparkasse Lüdenscheid.

Frank Walter, CEO of Sparkasse Hagen-Herdecke, added: “In view of the challenges in the coming years, two savings banks have found that they complement each other perfectly.”

The business area of the Sparkasse extends Volme und Ruhr to those within the municipalities of Hagen, Lüdenscheid, Herdecke, Halver, Schalksmühle and Herscheid, which together have a population of about 320,000. As the market leader, Sparkasse an Volme und Ruhr will serve around 155,000 private customers.

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