The start of the twenty-first century was tough for German Landesbanks. The pressure had started in 1992 when the German private banks filed a formal protest about WestLB receiving a capital boost in the form of an injection of state property assets. The European Commission (EC) converted the case into a competition case in 1994. The issue of state guarantees was later included in the case.
The struggle came to a head with the bursting of the stock market bubble in March 2000. Exposing the e