Together through thick and thin

Aareal Bank and the property company FRANK have a partnership that goes back a century. Our collaboration is based on a shared business vision, characterised by a forward-looking approach, the capacity to innovate and adaptability. 

The property company FRANK has been a client of Aareal Bank almost since day one. The Bank has worked closely with the Hamburg-based family business since 1925 – a partnership spanning four generations. Acting first as a provider of construction financing and now as an account management and payment services provider, we have stayed by our client's side. We have overcome many challenges and crises together, including war, reconstruction, the banking crisis and the current energy crisis. Our collaboration is based on a similar approach to business: identifying trends at an early stage, seizing opportunities and developing solutions that give people what they need – whether with bricks and cement, digitally or as a service.  

The foundation: housing for the future 

Then as now, FRANK is about making future living formats a reality. Founders Paul A.R. Frank and Hermann Frank had a vision of creating innovative spaces and accommodation – not just building affordable housing, but ensuring a good quality of life for all. Their first financing partner in this venture was Deutsche Bau- und Bodenbank (DBB). Founded in 1923 as Deutsche WohnstättenBank AG, its mandate was to provide urgently needed loan funds to the building and housing industry in a time of desperate housing shortages. This enabled the architectural visions of Paul A.R. Frank and his successors to become a reality. Innovative housing projects such as the 'Laubenganghäuser' [apartments with balcony access] in Hamburg and the large garden city in Kiel-Elmschenhagen gave rise to new living formats in the first half of the 20th century and remain as iconic today as they were then.  

However, the partnership between the first professional property lender DBB and FRANK was by no means purely a pragmatic decision. From the beginning, the chemistry between the companies was right, as Marc Schauenburg, great-grandson of the founder, recalls. "From the start, the partnership with Aareal Bank was based on deep mutual understanding and a high level of trust. What unites our companies to this day is the willingness to keep questioning what we are doing and to develop new potential – in close alignment with the needs of the markets and of people." 

Process efficiency as a driving force 

Identifying changes in clients' needs at an early stage and developing appropriate solutions has been the driving force behind both companies over the decades. In the late 1950s it became apparent that more efficient processes were needed, not only in the building industry, but also in relation to banking services. DBB recognised this requirement and set up a data centre with the aim of making account management more cost-effective and efficient. 

This was the first ever system for electronic information processing in the property sector and the precursor to the current ERP system, with which our subsidiary Aareon would enjoy great success many decades later. It paved the way for Aareal Bank Group to become the leading provider of IT services to the housing industry.  

With automated payment transactions, DBB gained a completely new line of business as the lead bank to the housing sector. The company came up with another major innovation in 1963, when the automated payments solution BK01 revolutionised payment transactions, particularly through virtual account numbers, which allowed accounting processes to be carried out much more accurately. FRANK's financial accounting also continues to benefit from this, as Marc Schauenburg explains. "Aareal Bank's accounts system has made it much easier to allocate each accounting process. With around 325,000 account entries per year, that represents huge potential savings for our resources." 

Together is smarter

Automation and digitalisation frees up capacity that can then be used for innovation processes. FRANK has diversified its portfolio of services over the last few decades, so that it now covers all areas relating to property – from land and project development to asset and property management, facility management and energy contracting. The company was quicker than others to recognise the energy savings potential of buildings, and drove forward progress in terms of sustainability. This led to the creation of the Eco division, which ensures that the energy footprint is kept as small as possible and that the energy supply to properties helps to conserve resources. As well as the Eco, Development and Services divisions, the company runs the think tank "Lab", which offers space for forward-looking, innovative thinking and for designing modern living formats. 

Data is key to improving people's lives

Sustainability and digitalisation are key themes when it comes to designing the cities of the future. The use of data is a critical factor in the development of new business models. "Data is key to improving people's lives," Marc Schauenburg is convinced. "To develop smart, sustainable housing and living environments, we need to know what people's needs are. To do that, we need strong partners like Aareal Bank and their capacity for innovation."  

With our cross-sector digital solutions, Aareal Bank Group shapes connections between stakeholders in the housing sector and related industries, thereby contributing to the design of tomorrow's smart cities. This also lays the foundations for the next 100 years of our shared success story with FRANK and many other loyal customers.  


FRANK: A laboratory and hub for making future living formats a reality since 1925 

FRANK is a family-run property company based in Hamburg, Kiel and Hofheim am Taunus. 325 dedicated colleagues in the three divisions (Development, Eco and Services) work on creating housing and commercial space. In all projects and undertakings, the focus is on the needs of clients, colleagues and neighbourhoods.