Norddeutche Landesbank by Benisch Architects
The IMF, too, had long demanded that any competing public monopolies in the German banking market be broken up, citing their "inefficiencies." When the German public Sparkassen and Landesbanken were reluctant to turn to investment banking with its skyrocketing profits, they were branded as bureaucratic and "unsexy." When they were pressured to increase their returns for their government owners, the German Landesbanken did get sucked to some extent into derivatives and CDOs (fraudulently rated triple A). But while they "lost billions in the Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers Ponzi scheme," Niemeyer says the extent to which they became involved in highly speculative transactions was "laughable in comparison with the damage done by private banks, for whom taxpayers are now providing guarantees."
It was the public banks and Sparkassen that supplied the real economy with liquidity, and that stepped in for the private banks when they withdrew to bet in the financial casino; but it was on the failings of the Landesbanken and Sparkassen that the media focused their attention. The real motive, says Niemeyer, was that the large private banks wanted the public banks' market share themselves: