Rethink Financial Services

The Future of Regional Banking

Many regions in Germany - and around the world - are facing difficulties due to the rapid urbanization that has increased in recent years. However, with the right strategy and implementation, regions can not only address these problems, but also take advantage of unique opportunities to succeed in the future. In our research project we investigate the role banks can play in a regional ecosystem.

As established banks face a multitude of new and diverse competitors, they must find new ways to reach their customers and build relationships with them that are stronger and more lasting than before. 

The following questions relate to this:

  • How will a region look in the future?
  • How will a region use new and emerging technologies?
  • What must be done to make a region attractive for the future and how can local actors join forces to achieve this?
  • What are the unique advantages of a specific region?
  • What does success look like for this region?
  • What are the most pressing demands and challenges in this region?

Each of our ThinkTanks produces one future study over a period of 12 months. That is a total of 6 futures studies per year, the contents of which are available to our partner companies in advance.  Before we publish the results of our research, we bring together corporate leaders in the DACH region with like-minded people and experts. In these strategy sessions, the participants reflect, evaluate, select and work on real challenges in order to return to their companies with viable solutions. At these sessions, international guest speakers provide impulses for possible starting points.


Day 1


28. Oktober 2020

03:00 pm

Arrival and Warm Up
Introduction of the Werkbank 32

04:00 pm

Welcome by Leonhard Zintl, Management Board of Volksbank Mittweida and Jan Berger, CEO 2b AHEAD

04:30 pm

Coffee break

04:45 pm

Fishbowl session: "What makes regions attractive in 2030?" - Ralf Schreiber, Lord Mayor of Mittweida and Leonhard Zintl, Board of Management of Volksbank Mittweida

05:45 pm

Fishbowl session: "The future of educational concepts"
Prof. Alexander Knauer, University of Applied Sciences Mittweida | Benjamin Zeitler, Managing Director Mittweida innovativ | Frank Riemann, Campus Artificial Intelligence cai42

07:30 pm

Dinner with dinnerspeaker, Tino Kreßner
Co-Founder of the crowdfunding platform Startnext

Day 2


29. Oktober 2020

07:00 am

Soft start and summary day 1

07:30 am

Josefin Graef, Researcher 2b AHEAD: Presentation of the study "The Future of Regional Banking"

10:30 am

Coffee break

10:45 am

Worksession: The bank in the regional ecosystem

12:00 pm


01:00 pm

Worksession: Revenues and margins

02:30 pm

Wrap Up and final round

03:00 pm

End of the event


Leonhard Zintl

Management Board Volksbank Mittweida

Leonhard Zintl is Managing Board of Volksbank Mittweida and a thought leader in his industry. His motto "Just do it" is reflected in the region: for him it is a matter of course to stand up for his region. He brings together people whom he thinks can shape the future together.

Tino Kreßner

Co-Founder Startnext

Tino Kreßner is a crowdfunding pioneer in Germany and co-founder of the crowdfunding platform Startnext.com. With Finlane GmbH he offers crowdfunding technology as a white-label service provider. Tino Kreßner is co-author of the "Crowdfunding Handbuch" and founding member of the Social Entrepreneurship Network Germany. He has a special connection to Mittweida, because Tino Kreßner studied media technology (Bachelor) and communication sciences (Master) at the university there.

Ralf Schreiber

Lord Mayor Mittweida

Ralf Schreiber is mayor of the city of Mittweida. He is a networker and is committed to the economic development of the region. As a graduate engineer for information electronics, the change in the digital world is a personal concern of his. Through the reorientation of the regional business development company MWE GmbH last year, he has actively laid the foundations for strategic economic action in Mittweida and the surrounding area.

Dr. Benjamin Zeitler

Managing Director of Mittweida Innovativ and responsible for Werkbank 32

Dr. Benjamin Zeitler has a doctorate in political science and is managing director of Teleskopeffekt (www.teleskopeffekt.de). As operators of the Werkbank32 they ensure that this innovation center brings people, ideas and technologies together and that new trend-setting business models are created from it. Benjamin Zeitler has already proven several times as project manager, management consultant and managing director to successfully implement projects and companies. Most recently, as managing director of a social economy company with over 100 employees, he has shown that innovation and digitization play a role for all industries. Now he brings this experience to Mittweida.

Prof. Alexander Knauer

Professor Digital Business & E-Entrepreneurship at Mittweida University

Prof. Dr. Alexander Knauer holds the Volksbank Mittweida Endowed Chair for Digital Business and E-Entrepreneurship at the University of Applied Sciences Mittweida. He teaches and conducts research on innovative business models and is, among other things, a member of the management team of Blockchain Schaufensterregion Mittweida. He is managing director of Telescope Effect (www.teleskopeffekt.de). Among other things, as the operator of the innovation center Werkbank32, it ensures that people, ideas and technologies come together and new forward-looking business models are created from them. Alexander Knauer accompanies innovative start-ups that have the disruptive potential to shift existing industry boundaries. Prior to his academic career, he worked in various business units of one of the largest German e-commerce providers.

Research Manager

Carina Stoettner

Research & Content Strategist bei 2b AHEAD

In our session, Carina Stoettner, research and content strategist at 2b AHEAD, will present the first results of her research. Furthermore, leading decision makers and experts in the field of regional ecosystems will share their knowledge with us.



Werkbank 32

Bahnhofstraße 32, 09648 Mittweida

Recommended hotels
Best Western Hotel Lichtenwalde

August-Bebel-Straße 1, 09577 Niederwiesa

Waldhaus Lauenhain

An der Talsperre 10, 09648 Mittweida


Impressions of the previous session

To the 2019 Financial Services ThinkTank Session on ‘The Future of Financial Services’