However, the establishment of German Sparkassenstiftung 30 years ago did not mark the actual beginning of the Sparkassen Finance Group’s development cooperation. Already in the mid-1960s, the Sparkassen Finance Group received requests from Africa and Latin America to support the establishment of local microfinance institutions and regional banks.
The founder of the now world-famous Grameen Bank Mohammed Yunus gathered his ideas in the concept of German Sparkassen during the 1980s. Meanwhile, the Sparkassen Finance Group supported the establishment of municipal Sparkassen in Peru. Until 1991 all these developmental projects were managed by an in-house department of the Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband (DSGV) (German Sparkassen and Giro Association).
Nevertheless, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union was followed by an increasing number of requests from Eastern European Sparkassen for assistance. The small department within the DSGV was no longer able to cope with all demands. Therefore, on December 12th, 1991, the DSGV’s General meeting decided to establish the German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation (DSIK) - with operational activities beginning on June 1, 1992.
Since then, German Sparkassenstiftung has passed on the experience and success factors of the German Sparkassen to partners in more than 100 countries. The establishment of DSIK has made it possible to systematize, professionalize and significantly expand the development cooperation activities of the German Sparkassen.
After 30 years 40 employees in Bonn and more than 340 employees in over 50 countries in Africa, Latin America, Central and Southeast Asia and the Caucasus are working for German Sparkassenstiftung. The focus of its activities is on building financial systems and strengthening local microfinance institutions along the lines of the German Sparkassen. With access to financial services and thus a chance to prosper DSIK is benefiting the population as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
German Sparkassenstiftung's work has many facets: it ranges from extensive capacity development at the local finance institutes to Financial Literacy trainings of the local population. Furthermore, DSIK is helping to establish and strengthen associations, providing advice to central banks and supervisory authorities, as well as aiding the development of local and regional banks. Rural development and Green Finance are also playing an increasingly important role in German Sparkassenstiftung's projects.