Dresdner Bank

Dresdner Bank AG
Former type Public
Industry Financial services
Fate Acquired by Commerzbank
Founded November 12, 1872 (1872-11-12)
Defunct 2009
Headquarters Frankfurt, Germany
Products Retail, commercial and commercial real estate banking
Website www.dresdner-bank.com
The 1978 "Silver Tower" houses part of the head office of the Dresdner bank.
The 2003 finished "Gallileo Tower" is part of the head office of Dresdner Bank.

Dresdner Bank AG was one of Germany's largest banking corporations and was based in Frankfurt. It was acquired by competitor Commerzbank in December 2009.



19th century

Dresdner Bank was established on 12 November 1872 through the conversion of financial institution Michael Kaskel. Dresdner Bank founding consortium consisted of Allgemeine Deutsche Creditanstalt, Leipzig, Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Deutsche Vereinsbank, Frankfurt am Main, Deutsche Effecten- und Wechselbank, Frankfurt am Main, and Anglo-Deutsche Bank, Hamburg with an initial capital of 8 million Thalers (24 million Marks) and 30 employees in Wilsdruffer Strasse in Dresden. In 1870s, Dresdner Bank acquired smaller regional institutes and several banks. The new branch in Berlin quickly exceeded the office in Dresden; therefore, the registered office moved to Berlin in 1884 leaving the place of jurisdiction in Dresden until 1950. After few new acquisitions, (even the acquisition of founder of Anglo-Deutsche Bank) opened the first international branch in London in 1895. By 1900, Dresdner bank had the largest German branch network. During the First World War, the London branch was forced to close; however, the branch network expanded in overall.

Early 20th century and the Third Reich

After the banking crisis in 1931 the German Reich owned 66% and Deutsche Golddiskontbank owned 22% of Dresdner Bank shares. Its deputy director was Dr Schacht, Minister of Economy under Nazism. The Bank was reprivatised in 1937.

During World War II, Dresdner Bank controlled various banks in countries under German Occupation. It took over the Bohemian Discount Bank in Prague, the Societa Bancara Romana in Bucharest, the Handels- und Kreditbank in Riga, the Kontinentale Bank in Brussels, and Banque d'Athenes. It maintained majority control of the Croatian Landerbank and the Kommerzialbank in Kraków and the Deutsche Handels- und Kreditbank in Bratislava. It took over the French interests in the Hungarian General Bank and the Greek Credit Bank, and it founded the Handelstrust West N. V. in Amsterdam. It also controlled Banque Bulgare de Commerce in Sofia and the Deutsche Orient-Bank in Turkey.

As a result of World War II 80% of the Bank's buildings were destroyed, costing the Bank 162 offices in 56 locations.

Post World War II era

Monetary reform and the introduction of the Deutsche Mark in 1948 helped return banking to normality.

Dresdner Bank expanded its network with acquisition and opening new offices not only in Europe but also in the United States, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and China. Dresdner Bank was the first to open its own office in former eastern Germany in Dresden in 2 January 1990. After the acquisition of Kleinwort Benson in 1995 to form its investment-banking arm Dresdner Kleinwort, Dresdner Bank took over the American investment bank Wasserstein Perella Group Inc., New York in 2000. This investment banking unit was then renamed Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

Allianz era

In 2002 Dresdner Bank became a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance corporation Allianz. In July 2006 Dresdner Kleinwort, dropped Wasserstein from their name and went through a re-organization of corporate bank, capital markets and investment bank. The arm made up of Capital Markets and Investment Banking.

In 2008 it was reported that Allianz was looking to dispose of Dresdner Bank. British banking group Lloyds TSB were amongst those rumoured to be interested. However, by July that year Lloyds TSB had denied any interest in making a bid.

Takeover by Commerzbank

On August 31, 2008, Commerzbank announced that it would acquire Dresdner Bank for EUR 9.8 billion.[1] Dresdner Bank was legally merged with Commerzbank on 11 May 2009 and ceased to be an independent entity.[2]


Hitler's Germany

Dresdner Bank was known as the bank of choice for Heinrich Himmler's SS.[3]

The bank took part early on in the Third Reich's policy of confiscating Jewish property and wealth.[3] The bank helped to finance concentration camps, including Auschwitz.[4]

The bank was closely involved in the occupation of Europe, "essentially acting as the bank of the SS in Poland".[3]


Dresdner Bank attempted to get a banking operating license in Saint Petersburg, where former KGB agent Vladimir Putin was in charge of foreign economic relations. Dresdner Bank appointed Matthias Warnig, a former Stasi agent and Vladimir Putin's former KGB contact[citation needed], to negotiate with Putin. The office was opened in 1991.[5][6] Warnig became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dresdner Bank ZAO, Dresdner Bank Russian subsidiary.

The bank has had a lucrative business relationship with Gazprom and the state oil company Rosneft. The bank advised on the forced sale of Yukos assets.[7]


  1. ^ Sale
  2. ^ Dresdner Bank Facts and Figures
  3. ^ a b c Hitler's Willing Bankers Spiegel Online International
  4. ^ Report: German Bank Helped Build Auschwitz Deutsche Welle
  5. ^ Seduced by secrets: inside the Stasi's spy-tech world, Kristie Macrakis
  6. ^ Report Links Putin to Dresdner St. Petersburg Times
  7. ^ Nord Stream, Matthias Warnig (codename "Arthur") and the Gazprom Lobby Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 114

External links

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