The political upheavals of the early 1990s in West Europe led to the establishment of Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V. by the German Sparkassen Association (DSGV) in December 1991.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the first task for the German Sparkassen was to enable the Sparkassen of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) to survive as universally active credit institutions in a competitive market economy.
With the energetic help of the West German partner Sparkassen, the GDR Sparkassen were very quickly restructured and transformed into efficient credit institutions. Inquiries from former socialist countries and other countries worldwide soon began to accumulate as to whether the reconstruction assistance in the GDR could also be provided to them. Quickly, the small department within the DSGV could no longer cope with the inquiries alone.
Consequently, the decision was made to establish German Sparkassenstiftung at the DSGV's General Meeting on December 12, 1991. German Sparkassenstiftung started its operational activities on June 1, 1992. The then President of the DSGV, Dr. Helmut Geiger, and the driving force behind the foundation of DSIK became the first Chairman of the Board.
Today more than 340 employees worldwide and 40 employees in Bonn are working for German Sparkassenstiftung. More than 200 projects have since been implemented in over 100 countries around the world. DSIK’s focus has shifted to Africa, Latin America, Central and Southeast Asia and the Caucasus. Nevertheless, DSIK is still committed to building up financial systems and strengthening local banks/micro finance institutions along the lines of the German Sparkassen. Thereby creating development alternatives for broad sections of the population and local businesses, and ultimately helping to generate jobs and income.
German Sparkassenstiftung's work has many facets: it ranges from staff development and training measures to implementing credit lines for international donors. Likewise, DSIK supports the formation and strengthening of local associations, while advising central banks and supervisory authorities or establishing local and regional banks. Rural development and Green Finance are becoming increasingly important in all projects of German Sparkassenstiftung.
Milestones of the last 30 years:
1992 - Foundation of the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
The Sparkassen Finance Group answers the international call for its expertise and experience. It establishes the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V. (now DSIK), based in Bonn, to promote economic and social development in developing and emerging countries.
2005 - Reconstruction aid after the tsunami
With the Sparkassen Reconstruction Fund for South Asia, the Sparkassen Finance Group provided assistance following the tsunami that struck on 26 December 2004. Sparkassenstiftung starts new projects with local partner institutions in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. During the project period, nearly 2,000 small (micro)enterprises are assisted to restore their livelihoods and overcome trauma.
2006 - Nobel Peace Prize for microfinance
Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting economic and social development from the bottom up. In the 1980s, the Sparkassen Finance Group had supported Grameen Bank in setting up an internal training system.
2012 – Sparkassenstiftung celebrates its 20th anniversary
Only 50 percent of the world's population over the age of 15 had access to a bank account at the time. Around the globe, Sparkassenstiftung is actively working to get the more people banked.
Heinrich Haasis succeeds Dr. Holger Berndt as Sparkassenstiftung's new Chairman of the Board.
2021- Sparkassenstiftung changes its name
Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V. becomes German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation by resolution of the General Assembly on 27 March 2021.
2022: German Sparkassenstiftung turns 30 years old
To date, around 2,000 employees from German Sparkassen have been involved in DSIK projects in developing and emerging countries. The volume of projects has increased tenfold in the last 30 years.