(Bloomberg) Andreas Petrie wants to see Europe’s largest private debt market escape a tangled web of phone calls, emails, and faxes by shifting to digital platforms within five years. The technology drive is also a key part of efforts to expand so-called Schuldschein lending beyond the German heartland and into global markets.

Schuldschein issuance has surpassed term loans and nonrated corporate bonds in Germany, helping fuel growth for the Mittelstand, the small enterprises that form the nation’s manufacturing backbone. Deal size averaged about €210 million in 2016, roughly in line with the U.S. private placement market, according to a European Commission report.

“The room for growth is huge,” says Petrie, head of primary markets at Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen. “The world is constantly moving toward a digital age, and we need to be creative.”

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