SaarLB achieves a significant increase in new business and improves earnings despite difficult circumstances. The Franco-German approach continues to intensify and awards were received in the area of sustainability.
- New business of EUR 2.0 billion – increase in both the German and French core market
- Annual earnings significantly above previous year and better than budgeted
- Improvement in return on equity (ROE) to 6% and thus also better than budgeted
- Common equity tier 1 ratio (CET1 ratio) stable and well above expectations at 13.2% despite Corona
- Successful placement of a public covered bond (Pfandbrief) in sub-benchmark format and a Green Bond, and other bond issues (Social Bond/Social Pfandbrief) planned for 2022
- Rollout of the new integrated France strategy, new location in Lyon and partnership with ODDO BHF
- Further development of the innovative customer platform “vis-à-vis” – integration of real estate customers
- Activities within the framework of the 80th anniversary year
- Awards received in the area of sustainability
- Pôle Franco-Allemand expands network and activities
- LBS Landesbausparkasse Saar sees increase in new home loan and savings business
- Early 2022: Rating upgrade by Fitch
Saarbrücken, 4 April 2022: The general circumstances in the 2021 financial year were again far from normal due to the global corona pandemic and gave rise to more special challenges. After reporting strong and stable half-year earnings in 2021, SaarLB was able to continue this positive trend through the end of the year despite the ongoing difficult economic conditions.
We enjoyed a significant increase in new business year on year as it rose by EUR 2 billion. The almost equal distribution of this new business between the two countries is a confirmation of our business model, especially for us as a Franco-German regional bank, and thus an important and meaningful factor.
Our earnings before taxes of EUR 45.2 million put us, on the one hand, 11% ahead of the budget and, on the other, also 22% above the previous year’s value – while simultaneously letting us reduce loan loss provisions.
In terms of return on equity (RoE), we are 1 percentage point above the previous year’s figure at 6% and are well positioned relative to competitors.
Our common equity tier 1 ratio (CET1 ratio), which is a particular focus of the supervisory authority and is intended for the unrestricted and immediate coverage of risks or possible losses, is 13.2% and thus also above the previous year’s level, ahead of the budget, and at the upper end of the internally defined target corridor.
In the past financial year, we were again able to successfully place on the market a public covered bond (Pfandbrief) in the sub-benchmark format for EUR 250 million. “The enormous interest in our covered bond became apparent after a very short time, as the issued bond was oversubscribed several times over after just one hour. For us, this is a sign that we are offering an appealing security with attractive conditions for the many subscribing banks and at the same time have a good refinancing instrument in our portfolio,” said Gunar Feth, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of SaarLB.
In the current financial year, we plan to issue a Social Bond and a Social Covered Bond (Pfandbrief) with a planned placement volume of EUR 200 million in order to establish ourselves as a financier of public and municipal projects on the German and French market in the future as well.
Another indication of our Franco-German approach is the integrated strategy for France that was developed last year and from which the first measures are already being implemented. Thus, in addition to the locations in Paris and Strasbourg, another branch of ours will be opened in Lyon.
In addition, the partnership talks with the private bank ODDO BHF entered the home stretch at the end of last year and were successfully concluded with a partnership agreement in the first quarter of 2022. “Both with our new integrated strategy for France and with the new location in Lyon and the partnership with ODDO BHF, we are putting another exclamation mark on our Franco-German approach and reaffirming our special business model,” said Frank Eloy, Member of the Board of Management of SaarLB.
In the area of digitalisation, we also made progress in many areas. For example, the existing innovative corporate customers portal “vis-à-vis” was expanded to include many functions last year and has now been activated for our real estate customers as well. “By using ‘vis-à-vis’, we are able to make the handling of credit processes even more efficient, faster and convenient for both customers and banks,” said Dr. Matthias Böcker, Member of the Board of Management of SaarLB.
At the end of last year, we celebrated our 80th anniversary and undertook some actions together with our employees. For example, 80 small trees were planted in the Saar Forest in the spirit of sustainability. “With this beautiful action, we have once again set an example for sustainability in our region. However, this topic has not only been an important concern for us since the publication of our sustainability strategy in 2014. I am all the more pleased because, in addition to the ‘Prime Status’, we have now also received awards for the ‘Best Cross-Border Strategy for Sustainable Banking in France and Germany’ and ‘Climate-conscious Company Germany’ for our sustainable commitment,” said Dr. Thomas Bretzger, Chairman of the Board of Management of SaarLB.
The Pôle Franco-Allemand, as the forum for cross-border investments initiated by SaarLB, can also look back on a successful financial year, in which many networking events were successfully held with our partners and, above all, many projects were implemented for the benefit of our customers.
LBS Landesbausparkasse Saar was able to achieve good annual earnings despite the extraordinary challenges posed by corona. Thus, around 8,000 new contracts with a home loan savings amount of EUR 577.2 million were concluded. The volume of new contracts was thus 1.4 per cent higher than in the previous year of 2020. At the same time, the market share increased by 7.4 per cent.
Looking ahead to the coming months and 2022
An outlook for the coming months and beyond is very difficult at this point in time. On the one hand, the future course of the corona pandemic cannot be predicted and, on the other, the developments in Ukraine in particular and their consequences can hardly be assessed.
Both factors will continue to have a significant impact on the German, French and global economy in the future. As a Franco-German regional bank, SaarLB has no direct business relations with Russia, Belarus or Ukraine.
“The war in Ukraine and thus in Europe was beyond the imagination of many of us until a few weeks ago. The situation in Ukraine and the human suffering of the people is incredibly sad and makes us all very concerned. We want to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Ukraine, which we did shortly after the war began and will continue to do. Together with our employees, we were able to collect a considerable sum in a very short time and pass it on to our donation partner so that we could reach the people in need directly,” said Dr. Thomas Bretzger, Chairman of the Board of Management of SaarLB.
As a Franco-German regional bank, we at SaarLB will continue to position ourselves accordingly in order to remain a reliable employer and stable partner that treats our employees and customers as equals in the future. This also includes, in particular, the further expansion of our focus on sustainability financing as a contribution to combating climate change.
All true to our motto: “Together – Limitless – Strong”.