Savings banks have a problem. It's called: AfD. And it seems they brought it on themselves. On February 6, the following happened: a customer of Sparkasse Mittelfranken-Süd wanted to transfer 430 euros to the AfD, plus the membership fee and a donation. A day later he received the following email from his savings bank: “February 6th. He made a payment of 430 euros in favor of Alternative for Germany. The beneficiary has an extreme right orientation. Sparkasse Mittelfranken Süd does not accept such payments. In your own interest, please discontinue such payments.”

The case caused a sensation. After all, it wasn't just any private bank that was reprimanding its clients, but a public financial institution that had a mandate. Sparkasse quickly apologized for this, speaking of a “human oversight” and admitting: “As a public credit institution, we offer all social groups and individuals, regardless of their political objectives, access to credit services.”

An anonymous informant talks about the method at Sparkasse

So far everything mediocre. However, the AfD did not leave the matter alone and now presents a “whistleblower”, i.e. an informant who remains anonymous, and describes in detail that the whole affair at the Sparkasse is not an oversight, but has a method. The corresponding software, which is used to identify suspected cases of money laundering, is programmed to sound the alarm when the AfD keyword is heard.

Since this revelation, the party has gone on the offensive. In a “small consultation” (20/10558) he would like to know what the federal government knows about the “threatening letters from the savings banks.” He criticizes the bank's actions and links them to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser's plan to “sensitize” banks on the issue of right-wing extremism. And he attacks the president of the savings banks, Helmut Reuter, because in an interview he said that “the AfD is not welcome in the savings banks” and that the banking group “does not have to respond friendly to extremist parties or offer a good service”.

Kay Gottschalk criticizes Interior Minister Faeser

Kay Gottschalk has decided to advance the cause in the spirit of the AfD. He is an AfD deputy, sits on the board of directors of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and is someone who is listened to even by those who don't like his party. Perhaps this is because last year, in an emotional speech in the Bundestag, the 58-year-old spoke about the death of her husband. She received applause from all groups for her speech. It's because she made a name for herself on the committee investigating the Wirecard scandal, and it's because she publicly criticizes AfD right-winger Björn Höcke. In an interview on YouTube about the Sparkasse case she says: “Nancy Faeser's perverse fruit of dividing our country and a unique smear campaign against right-wing conservative parties are bearing fruit.” Addressing the president of the Sparkasse, Reuter, he adds: “There are also political people at higher levels “Aparatchiks that work perfectly.” Gottschalk went on a tangent and accused the Hamburger Sparkasse and the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg of such behavior, although not provided no evidence. The aforementioned banks quickly rejected it upon request.

However, the truth is that the AfD can at least provide evidence of a case in which a savings bank has completely lost control. Every private company can choose its clients, but it must think carefully. Disqualifying and excluding 20 percent of German voters as “right-wing extremists” is definitely not a good idea.

A success for AfD

A savings bank cannot afford to think like this. For example, Berlin's Sparkasse was forced by a 2018 court ruling to offer an account to associations of the clearly far-right NPD party. He was not allowed to cancel the corresponding accounts because he has a public service mandate. Furthermore, due to the rise of the AfD, the savings banks naturally also have voters and officials of this party in their own ranks. Because if AfD politicians are elected mayors or district administrators, they end up ex officio on the board of directors of the local savings bank or even on the regional committees of the financial group. For the AfD, the behavior of Sparkasse Mittelfranken-Süd, which with its 35 branches and 600 employees is not exactly one of the smallest institutions in the savings bank association, is a target. If the Middle-South Franconian bank intended to “send a signal against the right”, this attempt completely failed. He has embarrassed himself even to the shirt.

The article “How a savings bank is embarrassed to the bone by the AfD” comes from Business Punk.