Dresdner Bank

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Dresdner Bank AG
TypeSubsidiary (AG)
IndustryFinancial services
PredecessorBöhmische Escompte-Bank
Danat-Bank Edit this on Wikidata
FoundedNovember 12, 1872 (1872-11-12)
FounderEugen Gutmann Edit this on Wikidata
DefunctMay 2009
FateAcquired by Commerzbank
HeadquartersFrankfurt, Germany
ProductsRetail, commercial and commercial real estate banking
Websitewww.dresdner-bank.com (redirects to Commerzbank)

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


Former Dresdner Bank head office [de] on the Bebelplatz in Berlin (1889-1945), later Deutsche Notenbank [de] (1953-1968) and Staatsbank der DDR (1968-1990), and a luxury hotel since 2006

19th century[edit]

The Dresdner Bank was established on 12 November 1872 through the conversion of the private banks Michael Kaskel and Bernhard Gutmann. The 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. From 1872 until his retirement in 1920, Eugen Gutmann [de] (1840-1925) was chairman of the board. In the 1870s, the 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. In all, the Dresdner Bank had (beginning of 1909) 27 branches, all, with the exception of the one in London, being located in Germany. In addition it had one silent partner and 57 deposit offices, 23 being in Berlin. In 1905 a close alliance was formed with the banking house of J. P. Morgan & Co., New York, for joint action in international finance and issue operations, particularly the absorption of American securities by German investors. Operations in the orient and South America were carried on jointly in cooperation with the A. Schaaffhausen'scher Bankverein.[1] During the First World War, the London branch was forced to close; however, the branch network itself expanded.

Early 20th century and World War II[edit]

After the banking crisis in 1931 the German Reich owned 66% and Deutsche Golddiskontbank owned 22% of Dresdner Bank shares. Its deputy director was Hjalmar 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 Böhmische Escompte-Bank in Prague, the Societatea Bancară Română 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[edit]

The Gallileo building in Frankfurt, completed in 2003, was part of the head office of Dresdner Bank until the 2009 merger

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

On 30 July 1977 in Oberursel (Taunus), Jürgen Ponto, the chairman of the board of directors of Dresdner Bank, was shot in his home during an attempted kidnapping by the RAF. Ponto later died from his injuries.[2][3][4][5]

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 on 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.

In 1999, Dresdner Bank and Banque National de Paris (BNP) proposed a merger but Allianz, a major shareholder of Dresdner Bank, opposed the merger. AXA, a major shareholder in BNP, is a rival of Allianz.[6]

Allianz era[edit]

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[edit]

On August 31, 2008, Commerzbank announced that it would acquire Dresdner Bank for EUR 9.8 billion.[7] Dresdner Bank was legally merged with Commerzbank on 11 May 2009 and ceased to be an independent entity.[8]

Acquisition by Deutsche Bank[edit]

In 2009, Deutsche Bank announced it will integrate the Dresdner Agency Security Lending business into its trust and securities services (TSS) business in global transaction banking (GTB).[9]


Nazi era[edit]

Dresdner Bank was known as the bank of choice for Heinrich Himmler's SS.[10]

The bank took part early on in Nazi Germany's confiscation of Jewish property and wealth.[10] The bank helped to finance concentration camps, including Auschwitz.[11]

The bank was closely involved in the occupation of Europe, "essentially acting as the bank of the SS in Poland".[10]


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.[a] Dresdner Bank appointed Matthias Warnig, a former Stasi agent and Vladimir Putin's former KGB contact,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][b] to negotiate with Putin. The office was opened in 1991.[14][19][c] Warnig became chairman of the board of directors of Dresdner Bank ZAO, Dresdner Bank Russian subsidiary which was located in the massive former German embassy on St. Isaac's Square and was a joint venture with Banque nationale de Paris (BNP).[14]

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.[24]

2008 Dividend stripping[edit]

In 2017, Frankfurt prosecutors, together with federal crime police and tax officials, conducted searches of Commerzbank offices as well as the flats of three suspects in Frankfurt and nearby Hanau about a "tax evasion probe in which several current and former managers are suspected of evading 40 million euros ($47 million) in taxes via dividend stripping, also known as "cum-ex" transactions".[25] The investigation also extends to trades in 2008 at Dresdner Bank, which was taken over by Commerzbank in 2009.[25]


  1. ^ Lazar Matveev served as a senior KGB liaison officer to the Stasi in Dresden, East Germany, during 1982 to 1989, and was the boss of Vladimir Putin and his former KGB colleagues Sergey Chemezov and Nikolay Tokarev.[12]
  2. ^ Vladimir Putin, KGB, recruited Mathias Warnig, Stasi, because the Stasi had West German spies and the KGB wanted to develop its own spy network in West Germany by recruiting Stasi West German spies into the KGB.[13]
  3. ^ In 1990, Banque nationale de Paris (BNP) entered into an alliance with Dresdner Bank.[14] This alliance to enter the Eastern European markets continued until December 2000.[23]


  1. ^ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Dresdner Bank, The" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  2. ^ Winkler, Heinrich August (2007). Germany: 1933-1990. Oxford University Press. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-19-926598-5. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  3. ^ Melzer, Patricia (2009). "'Death in the Shape of a Young Girl': Feminist Responses to Media Representations of Women Terrorists during the 'German Autumn' of 1977". International Feminist Journal of Politics. 11 (1): 35–62. doi:10.1080/14616740802567782. S2CID 145187393.
  4. ^ "Red Roses from Roter Morgen". Time. 15 August 1977. Archived from the original on December 15, 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Über Jürgen Ponto" [About Jürgen Ponto] (in German). Commerzbank. 2017-07-24. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  6. ^ "BNP denies Dresdner tie: France's biggest bank says it's not holding merger talks with Germany's number three". CNN. September 9, 1999. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  7. ^ Esterl, Mike; Cimilluca, Dana (2008-09-01). "Commerzbank to Acquire German Rival Dresdner". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  8. ^ Dresdner Bank Facts and Figures
  9. ^ "Deutsche Bank to Acquire Dresdner Bank's Global Agency Securities Lending Business". www.businesswire.com. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  10. ^ a b c "Hitler's Willing Bankers". Spiegel Online International.
  11. ^ "Report: German Bank Helped Build Auschwitz". Deutsche Welle.
  12. ^ Politike.ru | Лазарь Матвеев | http://politike.ru/termin/matveev-lazar-lazarevich.html
  13. ^ a b Dawisha, Karen (2014). Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?. Simon & Schuster. pp. 51–6. ISBN 978-1-4767-9519-5.
  14. ^ a b c d "Report Links Putin to Dresdner". The St. Petersburg Times. March 1, 2005. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  15. ^ Nölting, Andreas; Stuhr, Arne (February 23, 2005). "Der Präsident, die Stasi und der Banker" [The president, the Stasi and the banker]. Manager Magazin (in German). Archived from the original on February 12, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  16. ^ Chazan, Guy; Crawford, David (February 23, 2005). "In From the Cold: A Friendship Forged in Spying Pays Dividends in Russia Today: Top Dresdner Banker's Ties to Putin Go Back to Days When They Were Agents". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2018. Archive is in Russian
  17. ^ "Inopressa: Дружба, скрепленная шпионажем, сегодня приносит дивиденды в России". February 23, 2005. Archived from the original on 23 February 2005.
  18. ^ "Маттиас Варниг - старый друг Путина // The Wall Street Journal: Глава российского отделения Dresdner Bank, занимавшегося оценкой Юганскнефтегаза - агент Штази, завербованный Путиным в Дрездене". www.compromat.ru.
  19. ^ a b Macrakis, Kristie (2008). Seduced by Secrets Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521887472.
  20. ^ Franchetti, Mark (March 19, 2000). "Young Putin's Spy Disaster". The Sunday Times. Retrieved January 13, 2018.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Pietsch, Irene (2001). Heikle Freundschaftgen: Mit den Putins Russland erleben [Delicate Friendships: Experiences with the Putins Russia] (in German). Vienna: Molden Verlag. ISBN 978-3854850595.
  22. ^ Питч, Ирен (Pitch, Iren); Алексеевой, И.; Л.Есаковой; Р.Эйвадиса) (2002). Пикантная дружба: Моя подруга Людмила Путина, товарищ [The Spicey Friendship: My Friend Lyudmila Putina, Her Family and Dear Companion] (in Russian). Moscow: Zakharov. ISBN 978-5815901810.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "BNP-Paribas, Dresdner Will Split Up Their Eastern Europe Joint Ventures". Washington Post. December 22, 2000. Archived from the original on October 1, 2022. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  24. ^ Nord Stream, Matthias Warnig (codename "Arthur") and the Gazprom Lobby Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 114
  25. ^ a b Sheahan, Maria; Sims, Tom; Seidenstuecker, Hans (November 14, 2017). "German prosecutors raid Commerzbank in tax evasion probe". Reuters. Retrieved February 11, 2021.

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