German public savings banks (Sparkassen) have a market share of around 70% in the skilled trade and crafts sector, often with small loan amounts. From the banks’ perspective, requirements for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to be feasible and appropriate. The framework conditions under which public savings banks operate are their public mandate, the interests of their customers, and the need for stability and a level playing field in terms of market viability and competitiveness. The regulatory framework should adhere to the principle of proportionality and treat international capital market financing differently from loans to SMEs. It takes time to steer SMEs in the direction of a sustainable and climate-friendly way of doing business. Sustainability is not a prescribed “bullseye target” but rather an ongoing process. Reporting requirements should therefore not be too stringent. It is important to not rashly exclude entire sectors. The public savings banks are making a valuable contribution to the transformation with consulting, funding and educational measures, as well as with their recently declared commitment to climate action objectives.