Deutsche Bank may be forced to shrink US activities, Welt says

Radical changes to the business model are typical requirements in settlement arrangements with the US government

Gulf News

New York: Deutsche Bank AG may be forced to shrink its US activities as part of a deal to settle litigation over residential mortgage-backed securities with the Department of Justice, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the discussions.

Radical changes to the business model are typical requirements in settlement arrangements with the US government, Die Welt cited the person as saying. Deutsche Bank “must clarify one or two things” before an agreement can be struck, the person said, according to the report. Germany’s largest bank will probably give up part of its US investment banking business, the newspaper cited unidentified people in the banking industry as saying.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Armin Niedermeier declined to comment on the report when contacted by Bloomberg on Saturday.

A US pullback is among options that were discussed by the supervisory board and would be more likely than a sale of the asset-management business, German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter. Renee Calabro, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank in New York, declined to comment on the Sueddeutsche Zeitung report.

Deutsche Bank had 10,842 employees in North America at the end of 2015, about 10 per cent of the 101,104 it employs worldwide. Under Chief Executive Officer John Cryan’s restructuring plans announced last year, the lender is already seeking to eliminate 9,000 jobs, including 4,000 positions in its home market.

Shares Tumble

Cryan is seeking to bolster confidence as mounting legal expenses raise investor concern about the lender’s financial strength. A sell-off in the shares that erased more than half the company’s market value in the past year accelerated last month, when the bank said the US Justice Department was seeking $14 billion to settle a probe tied to residential mortgage-backed securities.

In a message to divisional chief operating officers on Wednesday, Deutsche Bank said hiring will be put on hold with immediate effect, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Chief Financial Officer Marcus Schenck told staff representatives last month that the lender may need to cut an additional 10,000 jobs to lower costs, Reuters reported Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify.