Discuss as:

Century-old bank relies on one man and an adding machine

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Peter Breiter, CEO of Raiffeisen Gammesfeld eG bank, serves a customer at the counter of the bank in Gammesfeld, Baden-Wuerttemberg. Things do not seem to have changed much since the bank was founded in 1890.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Peter Breiter works with an old adding machine. The bank is not connected to a database system, there are no cash machines and its customer base consists only of residents of the town of Gammesfeld, which has a population of around 510.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Fritz Vogt, 82, who used to run the bank and still helps out with paperwork, writes into a savings book. During his time at the bank he rejected the idea of IT, preferring his trusty fountain pen, and now eyes the 'new' computer with its floppy disks warily.

By Victoria Bryan, Reuters

Peter Breiter, 41, is an unusual banker. Not for him the big bonuses, complicated financial instruments and multi-million deals of Wall Street lore.

He is happy instead writing transaction slips out by hand for the 500 inhabitants of the tiny southern German village of Gammesfeld.

The Raiffeisen Gammesfeld eG cooperative bank is one of the country's 10 smallest banks by deposits and is the only one to be run by just one member of staff.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Peter Breiter rolls euro coins in paper.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Peter Breiter mops the floor in the waiting room of the bank.

A typical day's work for Breiter involves providing villagers with cash for their day-to-day needs and arranging small loans for local businesses. Not to mention cleaning the one-story building that houses the bank, which is 200 meters from his own front door.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Peter Breiter holds the floppy disks he uses now that the bank has a computer.

Moving from a bigger bank, where it was all "sell, sell, sell," Gammesfeld-born Breiter says taking up this job in 2008 was the best decision he ever made.

The advertisement required someone to work by hand, without computers. The typewriter and the adding machine bear the signs of constant use, although Breiter, in his standard work outfit of jeans and a sweater, does now have a computer.

"It's so much fun," Breiter, a keen mathematician, says as he deals with a steady stream of lunchtime customers. He knows his customers by name and regularly offers advice on jobs, relationship and money woes.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Peter Breiter, right, welcomes customer Mandes Rueger, 30, at the counter of the bank. Rueger, an insurance salesman, comes in around twice a week to use the bank.

Raiffeisen Gammesfeld restricts its business to traditional retail banking --  no credit cards, shares, funds or even online banking. Annual profits are stable at around 40,000 euros ($54,000) and the biggest loan it ever made was for 650,000 euros ($875,000).

Breiter said the financial crisis prompted interest in his bank from all over Germany: "One person rang up five times asking for a 4 million euro loan, but I had to refuse because he wasn't from Gammesfeld!" Read the full story.

Photographer's blog: Lisi Niesner describes her visit to Germany's one-man bank

EDITOR'S NOTE: Images taken on Jan. 29, 2013 and made available to NBC News today.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

A Raiffeisen Gammesfeld eG bank stamp.