According to SPIEGEL information, the financial supervisory authority Bafin is taking drastic measures and words against the Volks- und Raiffeisenbank Bad Salzungen Schmalkalden, which has become known as the "Effenberg Bank". Due to risky transactions, a deficient risk culture, questionable information and concerns about the money laundering prevention function, the bank must increase its equity ratio from eight to 14 percent on the instructions of Bafin, according to a letter from the supervisory authority to the institution dated September 4, 2023. Five of the six additional percentage points in equity capital is an individual capital surcharge because the bank's deficiencies are "considerably outside the usual range in terms of number and severity," as it is said. SPIEGEL has obtained the letter.

The Association of German Cooperative Banks (BVR) is also angry and makes serious accusations against the bank's management in a letter dated September 21, which is also available to SPIEGEL. There is talk of considerable gaps in the internal monitoring system, a "critical and unresolved risk situation" and the obvious lack of interest on the part of the bank's management in changing this.

Volksbank has been making headlines for years, mainly because of its involvement in the football financing business. Their colleague Stefan Effenberg, former national player and Champions League winner with FC Bayern Munich, is to use his contacts in the football scene for the bank.

However, this commitment is not the subject of the incendiary letters from Bafin and BVR. They are bothered by deals such as the sale of a property in Weimar for twelve million euros in 2022. The buyer of the property is said to be a 100 percent subsidiary of Volksbank, »Filia Domo GmbH«, so the sale is a kind of deal. In addition, neither a market value appraisal had been prepared nor had the supervisory board been asked for approval to give the subsidiary a loan so that it could manage the purchase of the property. In addition, in fact no money had flowed at all, which had been concealed from the Supervisory Board.

Bafin and BVR are also critical of credit commitments, as well as Volksbank's participation in the "Großtanklager-Ölhafen-Rostock GmbH" (GÖR). According to the BVR, this is not only in need of massive explanation in relation to the bank's sustainability strategy. But also because of the seller of the shares to the bank, the company "Euroports". Its main shareholder is the Monaco Resources Group, which is associated with businessman Valentin Fischer. Fischer was sentenced to three years in prison in 2006 for subsidy fraud.

The bank declined to comment on the information, citing banking secrecy.