For thrift-loving Germans looking to salt money away, a pub inHamburg's red-light district can be just as good as a bank.

At Schlemmer-Eck in the St. Pauli neighborhood, HerbertStender—a 75-year-old bartender with tattooed arms and a skull andcrossbones on his black baseball cap—has guarded deposits paid inby regulars to the savings club they fondly call “Lawless Hill”since 1987. The association is reminiscent of the kind that oncehelped foster a culture of fiscal rectitude and propel Germany'seconomic rebound after World War II.

Today, communal saving in venues such as taverns, pubs, orbarber shops is a largely social affair as the traditionexperiences a revival in cities like Hamburg and Frankfurt, thecountry's banking capital. In an age of record-low interest ratesthat's prompting Germans to spend more and save less, the clubsoffer the engineers, lawyers, and students seeking to join a way todo both while upholding the custom started by their mostlyworking-class predecessors.

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