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Savings banks in German-speaking countries are called Sparkasse (pl: Sparkassen). They work as commercial banks in a decentralized structure. Each savings bank is independent, locally managed and concentrates its business activities on customers in the region it is situated in. In general, savings banks are not profit oriented. Shareholders of the savings banks are usually single cities or numerous cities in an administrative district. Some 6 savings banks (Bordesholmer Sparkasse AG, Spar- und Leihkasse zu Bredstedt AG, Sparkasse Bremen AG, Hamburger Sparkasse AG, Sparkasse zu Lübeck AG, Sparkasse Mittelholstein AG) are independent from municipalities, their shareholders and guarantors are charitable foundations; their association is the Verband der Deutschen Freien Öffentlichen Sparkassen.

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