Report by Markus Müller, Christian Grötsch
„For the fifth time“. Despite the rainy start of Thursday, 08/10/2017, which could be a pre-taste of the London weather for Brexit bankers, the fifth international finance exchange between the US Army, Bundeswehr, and Bundesbank ended with the presentation of two US Army medals (Army Commendation Medal) to event organizers for their contributions to theater security cooperation and a wonderful rain-free view of Frankfurt am Main from the top of the Main Tower.
This event, entitled „Bank-Visit 2017“, consisted of a group of 82 guests and speakers who met for an international exchange on financial systems and procedures as part of the German-American (military) partnership. This exchange in the banking environment has been ongoing for the past five years and is based on an initiative of the US Army Financial Management units in Europe in cooperation with Reserves of the Bundeswehr.
Thanks to the support of the German Federal Bank (BuBa), the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) / the European Central Bank (ECB), Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (international law firm) and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba), the 266th Financial Management Support Center (266th FMSC, Kaiserslautern), the 106th Financial Management Support Unit (106th FMSU, Baumholder), Bank of America (CommunityBank, Mainz-Kastel), the Swiss police, Reservists of the German Army (Bundeswehr) and interested civilian guests from politics, science and finance, the exchange takes place annually in Frankfurt.
Held on the premises of the Deutsche Bundesbank, this year’s “Bank Visit” again provided an opportunity to exchange information on certain issues facing the modern financial world. This year’s exchange focused on banking privacy and ensuring proper currency supply for society.
Guest speakers sought to answer three primary questions: how many banknotes are necessary in our society, who determines this, and how is it subsequently ensured? In addition to these discussions, the structure of the supervisory authorities within the German and Eurozone financial sectors were also examined. The Deutsche Bundesbank, the BaFin and the SSM / the ECB were examined in detail to include their relationship and their mutual roles. The international character of the event was highlighted by the insights that CPT Krueger provided on to the tasks and activities of the Financial Management units of the US Army.
The specific topics on this year’s agenda were as follows:
- „Liquidity – a major supervisory aspect for BaFin“ (Speaker: Dr. Johannes Engels (BaFin)),
- „Relevant CENTCOM Banking Activities & EAGLECASH CARD“ (Speaker: CPT Charles Krueger (266th FMSC Banking Support)),
- “ Single Supervisory Mechanism – European Banking Supervision in the Eurozone“ (Speaker: Wolfgang Johann Gerken, European Central Bank (Head of Section, DGMS2 – Microprudential Supervision)),
- „The role of the Deutsche Bundesbank within the Eurosystem and the securities settlement system T2S“ (Speaker: Martin Jedrzejowski, Deutsche Bundesbank (Staff of the President)) and
- „BaFin – the German „Watchdog“ as financial services supervisor“ (Speaker: Peter Kruschel (BaFin)),
- „Legal Compliance – Competition Law and Privacy“ (Speaker: Dr. Sebastian Jungermann (lawyer / partner, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP)
- visit to the „Main-Tower“ (Helaba).
During the lively discussions between the international guests and speakers, various aspects of the financial world were examined. On the part of the German participants, the presentations on what US Financial Management units „really do“ and what part they have to the financial and banking world was very interesting. Equally interesting, were the discussions led by supervisory authorities on the function of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and liquidity requirements from the BaFin perspective. During the event lunch, held in the immediate vicinity of the Exchange, all participants agreed that the „Bank-Visit“ provides an opportunity to exchange information beyond a solely national focus and furthers mutual understanding between partners.
Concluding this year’s event, a special award on behalf of the US Army was presented to the Bundeswehr organizers of the event. For their exceptional contributions to theater security cooperation and the US and German partnership, Major d.R. Christian Grötsch and Oberleutnant d.R. Markus Müller were awarded the US Army Commendation Medal.