Many bank customers are waiting to get cryptocurrencies from their banks. In fact, more and more German banks are expanding their offerings to private investors.
A cooperative bank is a pioneer: the Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte eG has had its own crypto offering for a few days. The Volksbank offers its 174,000 customers bitcoins for sale. The regional bank relies exclusively on the oldest cryptocurrency. “In our opinion, bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that offers sufficient security against manipulation. All other crypto values cannot be compared with bitcoin because they are not sufficiently decentralized,” explains Andreas Streb, the bank’s deputy chairman of the board.
Also a machine in planning
“We don’t want to expose our customers to the risk of coming across dubious providers, but want to offer added value as a reputable financial service provider with well-founded services,” says Streb. In particular, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which is often classified as a pure object of speculation, is becoming increasingly important as an alternative investment.
With the new offer, crypto-trained employees are also starting. “In discussions with our members and customers, we found that there is a great need for information about investing in Bitcoins. Since we want to be the first point of contact for all financial matters in the region, we now offer a secure and practical solution for this,” says the Chairman of the Board, Richard L. Riedmaier.
In addition, the Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte eG wants to set up a Bitcoin machine for its customers in the main office in Ingolstadt in July. Euro banknotes can then be exchanged for bitcoins there from the summer.
Savings banks decide in the summer
And when will customers of the German savings banks be able to buy cryptocurrencies via their accounts? “There will be a decision on this by the middle of the year,” explains Wiebke Schwarze, spokeswoman for the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV), in an interview with Cityryde.com. Committees have been discussing the future course for months. However, the media also reported a conflict of direction within the organization.
“Cryptocurrencies are not investments that savings banks want to offer their customers,” said Bavarian savings bank president Ulrich Reuter. The statement comes from an interview with the Bloomberg news agency. And DSGV President Helmut Schleweis only made a cautious statement at the balance sheet press conference in March. So it is still uncertain whether the savings banks will follow suit. In the end, the regional principle decides. And so each institute can decide for itself what is offered to the customers.
For business customers only
Commerzbank is the first major German bank to announce that it has applied for a so-called crypto custody license from BaFin, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority responsible. But the procedure is also clear: Commerzbank is only targeting institutional customers, i.e., business customers – private customers are initially left out. The bank is the twenty-fifth company to file such an application with the regulator.
Commerzbank has thus dared to take a strategic step that has been in preparation for years. The money house is still stubbornly silent about detailed plans for the future. In a written statement, the bank tells Cityryde.com briefly and concisely: It wants to help shape the market for “custody and trading in non-physical assets.”
According to the head office in Frankfurt, Commerzbank entered into a cooperation with Deutsche Börse and Fintech 360x in spring 2021. As a result, customers can hope to find out more about what concrete offers the big bank is planning for the future, perhaps in the run-up to the upcoming general meeting.
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