Merger talks underway to create Germany’s largest church bank

Negotiations to create €7.7bn faith-based institution

Evangelische Kreditgenossenschaft (EKK), a Protestant church bank and signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), has opened talks with a peer regarding a possible merger that would create Germany’s largest church bank.

It is in talks with Evangelische Darlehnsgenossenschaft (EDG) and, if the merger talks are successful, the two would create a church bank with 500 employees and a balance sheet worth €7.7bn.

In a statement, the banks said greater competition, tighter regulation and consolidation among church institutions were the reasons why they wanted to tie up. The merged entity would also be better able to meet the financing needs of larger church institutions.Hans-Nissen Andersen, chief executive of EDG, said the first meetings revealed that both banks complement each other well. Thomas Katzenmayer, EKK’s CEO, added that if a bigger church bank resulted, it would still live up to the same Christian values espoused by both entities.

The shareholders of both banks are to hold extraordinary meetings in June to vote the merger.

Kassel-based EKK is the bigger of the two banks, with 320 employees and a balance sheet worth €4.3bn. It has €2.5bn in investable assets, of which 64% are in bonds and another 12% in equities. It’s also a major sustainable fund provider, with around €2bn in such assets for retail and institutional clients. Kiel-based EDG employs 180 people and has €3.4bn in balance sheet assets.