Ludwig Poullain

Dr. h.c. Ludwig Poullain (* 23. December 1919 in Lüttringhausen) was from 1969 to 1977 of chairmen of the board of the WestLB and from 1967 to 1972 a president of the German savings bank and Giroverbandes (DSGV).

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life Ludwig Poullain in Lüttringhausen with rem-separate as a third son of a baker master. After conclusion of the material High School it began 1937 savings bank teachings with the savings bank rem-separates. With beginning of the Second World War 1939 he became a soldier, with end of war was he a first lieutenant. Starting from 1950 he became federation examiner with the Rheini savings bank and Giroverband. Further stations of its career were starting from 1955 member of the board with the municipal savings bank Solingen and starting from 1958 of chairmen of the board with the district savings bank Recklinghausen.

it changed 1964 to „the Landesbank for Westphalia Girozentrale “in Münster, whose central management it took over 1966. At the 1. January 1969 united the Landesbank for Westphalia Girozentrale with the “Rheini Girozentrale and Provinzialbank” in Duesseldorf to the “West German Landesbank Girozentrale” (WestLB) with seat in Duesseldorf and Münster. Thus the then largest bank in Germany developed in North Rhine-Westphalia. Poullain was their first chairman of the board.

Poullain dedicated itself after the retreat from the DSGV guidance to the development of the market position of the WestLB. It strengthened above all the foreign business of the bank. Addresses in Luxembourg (1972), London (1973) and New York (1975) were furnished. In addition the WestLB went in this time numerous enterprise participation (e.g. Preussag or Gildemeister). In the course of the Poullain affair (see below) it withdrew 1977.

Ludwig Poullain worked thereafter as an advisor, among other things from max of Grundig. Later he transferred with medium-size enterprises functions such as plenipotentiaries or, last, supervisory board chairmen of the Marseille hospitals AG to Hamburg.

federation activity

1967 was selected Poullain additionally to the president of the German savings bank and Giroverbands (DSGV ). 1972 it withdrew from the office of the DSGV president. It had not been able itself to intersperse with its ideas for business advancement within the savings bank organization like intended. Helmut Geiger became its successor with the DSGV.

Karlsruher savings bank day 1969

two years after its assumption of office as a DSGV president aimed its on the savings bank day in Karlsruhe published and discussed strategy at a strong and rapid change of the savings bank organization. It demanded to release the savings banks “from the claws of patronizing” the policy. He saw himself clear the savings bank organization in an aggravating competition with the banks. The official status of the managers and further coworker should be abolished. Its ideas were converted however very much dragging and only years later. Its resignation as a DSGV president 1972 was a consequence from the slow conversion of its strategy.

Poullain as Vordenker

the spoken strategy and in the public shortened on the set of “Grandpas savings bank never used of it according to own data is dead”. In the savings banks a process of professional and universal management should come on. Poullain placed the switches toward technical modernization of the savings banks and expansion of business on new products. To Poullains utterance see Barbara Hillen, “Grandpa savings bank is dead - or how a set of career made” in: Savings bank, number 3/2002.

Poullain sinnierte months later in connection with the affair around the hessian Landesbank (Helaba), Frankfurt/Main, in first thoughts over the transformation of the savings bank nature. Private detention inserts, unions to the national savings bank or the conversion to an AG might not be a taboo in the discussion.

Poullain affair 1977

to 23. December 1977 withdrew Ludwig Poullain from the office as a chairman of the board of the WestLB. Before an advisor contract was Poullains with the entrepreneur Franz Josef Schmidt admits become in the public, which was felt in the press as scandalous. Million DM had received Poullain from the present Treaty. The contract had not been concealed by him and had not been also duly paid duty, how turned out later. The WestLB spoke after further Presseveröffentlichungen to 17. January 1978 a cancellation without notice against Poullain because of rough obligation injury out. The North-Rhine/Westphalian Minister of Finance Friedrich Halstenberg (SPD) withdrew on the same day. Halstenberg was a chairman of the WestLB board of directors. It may have played also a role here that Ludwig Poullain had remained stable for the Prime Minister Heinz bold (SPD) opposite before. Boldly Poullain had asked to omit in the public in the future critical sentences for the economic policy of the Federal Chancellor at that time Helmut Schmidt (SPD). Poullain refused itself to the unjustified demand and pounded on its right to free expression of opinion.

The Poullain affair busy also the courts. To 13. July 1979 ended the appointment negotiation before the higher regional court Duesseldorf because of fulfilment of its settlement agreement in favor of Poullains. In the criminal procedure because of fraud and unfaithfulness the regional court Münster spoke it to 16. November 1981 in all charges freely. Poullain did not act as a “office-holder “and the disputed advisor contract thus to close to be allowed.

Ungehaltene speech 2004

in July 2004 turned out for Ludwig Poullain again into the headlines of the restaurant press. It had ready explained itself to hold for the Verabschiedung of the chief executive of the north German Landesbank Manfred Bodin a lecture. The planned speech over „bank and Ethos “was at short notice called off, after the speech text with numerous points of criticism at the existing German banking admits had become and the authors was not ready to change disputed passages. Poullain talked the value of probity under Bankern the word and pointed out into its Philippika the difference between one „Banker “and one „banker “.

The speech originally written for a smaller circle became thereupon under the heading „Ungehaltene speech of a ungehaltenen man “to 16. July 2004 in full length in the Frankfurt general newspaper publishes. Those scolds, which one wanted to suppress, unfolded so a very much larger effect.


Ludwig Poullain has both with its on the Karlsruher savings bank day published strategy to the opening of the savings bank organization and contributed with the transformation of the WestLB from a Girozentrale to an internationally active clearing bank substantially to the fact that the savings bank organization intensified the competition with the large and private banks as well as the loan banks. The demarcation of the business fields between the bankers' syndicates, existing before it, was given up. The savings banks and Landesbank made aimed business fields of the major banks their own. The group competition in the German credit and finance developed on a long-term basis by this transformation and by the later opening of the major banks to the business with private customers. The abolishment of the state adhesion for savings banks and Landesbank, demanded by Poullain already 1969, only 2005 were converted in the context of the Brussels concordance. Nevertheless its accents contributed crucially to the change of the German banking.

economic system

  • , German world economy company, Berlin 1974 the savings bank organization
  • , scarce, Frankfurt/M. endangered works. 1972
  • report on the activities, sea-forest, Stuttgart Degerloch 1979, ISBN 3-5120-0532-2 (biography)
  • Ungehaltene speech, in: Frankfurt general newspaper 163 (2004) of 16. July 2004, S. 9


  • Helmut Reuther: Ludwig Poullain, Transcontact publishing house, Bonn 1973 (humans of our time; Bd. 19)


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