This paper studies German bank lending during the Asian and Russian crises, using a bank level data set, which has been compiled from credit data at the Deutsche Bundesbank. Our aim is to gain more insight into the pattern of German bank lending during financial crises in emerging markets. We find that German banks reacted to the Asian crisis mainly by reallocating their portfolios among emerging markets. This behaviour is consistent with active portfolio management and does not necessarily indicate a spontaneous reaction to the Asian crisis. By contrast, the banks’ behaviour during the Russian crisis is characterised by a general withdrawal from emerging markets. The use of micro data allows us to analyse and to model bank heterogeneity with panel estimation techniques. We find that the lending of large commercial banks was less stable than the lending of public sector banks during the Asian crisis. Differences were not as pronounced during the Russian crisis.