Surprisingly, statistics reveal that German banks aren’t as large as many expect within a country with such a strong economy. The banking system is considered to be worthy of high political protection, even if the most powerful, Deutsche Bank, has been hit by several scandals.
The names of several big banks can be seen all across the Rhine Ruhr region. Commerzbank (incorporating Dresdner), Sparkasse (organised regionally), Post and Deutsche offer their services over the counter in well staffed branches. Those wishing for a more personal touch could consider private bankers such as HSBC Trinkaus & Burghardt, Merck Finck or Sal. Oppenheim.
On the web the choice of financial institutions offering internet banking is higher and competition stronger. A good option your writer has found in English is that of the Sparkasse Köln Bonn. Free accounts are rare, however the Postbank can be a good alternative for personal accounts.
One great advantage to expats of a Euro account is the treatment of transers as local regardless of destination within the Eurozone. And one quirk of the German banking system is that no receipt for withdrawals is available on cash dispensers. The other is that there seem to be no court cases to rectify the matter and offer consumers that option.