German savings banks remain firmly in male hands. As of June 30, 2021, of the 911 board members of the 373 institutes, only 53 were women, according to a study by analytics firm Barkow Consulting, which SZ received. This corresponds to a women’s quota of 5.82%. In contrast, 63 percent of all employees are women. Compared to the previous quarter, the proportion of women on boards of directors has even deteriorated slightly.
Barkow Consulting assessed the figures in the context of the Management Positions Act II, which is due to come into force by the end of this year. According to this, the federal government obliges companies with more than 2,000 employees and at least four members of the board of directors that one of them in the future is a woman. 66 companies are currently subject to these conditions. Among them, 24 do not have women on the board of directors. For companies in which the federal government has a majority, the law applies in a stricter form: with three or more directors, a director must be female. 94 companies are concerned. And finally, for public law companies, a minimum participation of one woman applies from two directors. Among other things, around 155 social security organizations are involved here.
However, the new law does not apply to savings banks, even if they are public establishments. This is due to the fact that they do not belong to the federal government, but are under municipal sponsorship. “If you look at the figures on the proportion of women on the board of directors of Sparkasse, it becomes clear that legal regulation would also be appropriate here”, explains Wolfgang Schnorr, expert in corporate governance, who analyzed the figures for Barkow Consulting. These are sobering.
Also at Volksbank and Raiffeisenbanken only 4.4% of board members are women
If savings banks were to be included in the regulation of public companies, the bill would be quite different. 372 of the 373 savings banks currently have a board of directors of at least two members. This would mean that all savings banks except one would come under the law. Of these 372 savings banks, 49 have at least one woman on the board of directors, but 323 do not. If a woman joined each of these board members, the proportion of women in the savings bank camp would drop from 5.82 to 41.27 percent.
“With the inclusion of savings banks in the new set of rules, near parity would have been created in executive bodies,” Schnorr explains. He considers it a failure that savings banks were not included in the regulation of public companies. The federal government and the states would have the political power to change the legal situation accordingly.
The second important pillar of bank branches in Germany, the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, also turns out to be a pure male stronghold. As they are organized as a cooperative, they are also not subject to any statutory regulations regarding the quota of women. 57% of all employees of the 839 Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken were women at the end of 2020. The quota on boards of directors is 4.4% – for 1,905 men there are 88 women. The banking newsletter “Finanz-Szene” scanned the annual reports of all institutes and found that there were more men with the first name Thomas on the boards – namely 92 – than women. in general.