News Bites

Jet Deutschland, a chain of gas stations, is suing German banks for charging annual debit-card fees.

Nestlé is selling Gerber Life Insurance for $1.55 billion to Western & Southern Financial Group, a financial services provider from the US.

The CEO of insurer Swiss Re said after hurricane Florence in the US and typhoon Mangkhut in Asia, more storms are likely. Christian Mumenthaler said he expected worse to come.

The European Central Bank unveiled its new €100 and €200 bills yesterday. They will go into circulation from May.

Allianz will sign a partnership with the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday and will be an official sponsor for the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.

Berenberg, a private bank from Hamburg, will sell its Swiss subsidiary to a consortium. The Swiss offshoot will be named Bergos Berenberg in the future.

The government launched a family housing subsidy, Baukindergeld, to promote home-buying and help parents buy their first home.

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Thousands of people in Berlin and Munich protested exploding rents and renovations which turn affordable housing into luxurious apartments this past weekend. (Deutschlandfunk)

Economics Minister Peter Altmaier expects the German economy to grow by around 2% this year after it expanded 2.2% in 2017.

Sticky transition

Too many life insurers still caught in interest-rate trap

Germany's life insurers have made little headway in offsetting low-interest rates with smarter investments, a new study finds. Only one in four of the big companies is on sound economic footing.

Tenants' rights

Germany tightens rent controls amid housing shortage

A new law is set to increase rental price transparency, cut opportunities to hike rents after renovations and places the burden of proof in disputes on landlords.

Enough is enough

ECB halts a major economic stimulus, and no one blinks

The European Central Bank is pulling down the curtain on its controversial bond-buying program at the end of 2018. Some will be saying good riddance, as the scheme has shown mixed results.

Nein, Danke

Austria’s compromise on European deposit insurance irritates Berlin

Germany opposes any sharing of liability until European banks clean their balance sheets of toxic loans.

2008 all over again?

High-risk loan boom could end in bank crisis

Banks and other investors are issuing more leveraged loans to highly indebted companies than ever before. But if defaults rise, as they did in 2008, they face a rude awakening.

Deutsche-Commerzbank?

Bank merger rumors roil markets

Fresh speculation over a possible merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank sent the shares of both skywards yesterday, with analysts backing what they think is a sensible solution all around.

courting trouble

How Germany’s version of the class-action lawsuit functions

The VW investor lawsuit looks like a US-style class action but it isn't. The possibilities for suing companies are more limited in Germany, though they're changing.

Fraudulent refunds

Pan-European tax fraud web leads to New Jersey and Dubai

A handful of conspirators teamed up to steal from European taxpayers, aided by a little-known German bank. Prosecutors are just now catching up with the suspects.

Exit the dragon

Deutsche Bank’s Chinese shareholder to sell stake

Anchor investor HNA has decided to part with its Deutsche Bank shares to help stem its liquidity problems. The sale could bring Germany’s biggest bank much-wanted stability.

Down not up

DAX earnings suffering despite economic boom

Investments, a strong euro and a certain US president are putting the brakes on earnings growth in Europe's biggest economy.

envion blockchain container cryptocurrency

Zero day

Envion: The chronology of a cryptocurrency catastrophe

The company promised shining returns by coupling renewable energy with blockchain technology. Investors who gave the company $100 million are now left with a near-worthless virtual currency.

hymer caravan IPOs germany

Market entries

More major German IPOs floating on the horizon

Exyte, Hymer and Knorr Bremse are all expected to launch initial public offerings in the coming months, making 2018 a record year for German IPOs.

Tech-tonic shift

High-flying tech index set for slowdown

The dynamic TecDAX has enjoyed enormous gains in the past few years but the introduction of several more cumbersome DAX-listed firms this month is likely to weigh it down in the future.

Beautiful Berlin

Room wanted

As property booms, Berlin is a victim of its own success

Tens of thousands of people move to the German capital every year, stretching a once-relaxed housing market to the breaking point.

frankfurt banks skyline, bank consolidation mergers

Too small to succeed

European banking market may see megamergers soon

Big bank mergers were taboo after the financial crisis, but regulators are encouraging them to boost flagging profits. German and Austrian banks could be among the first to consolidate, UBS predicts.

Handelsblatt Banking Summit

Hard Brexit won’t be so soft for Germany

Europe needs to do more to offset the loss of London as a financial hub with small- and mid-sized companies affected most, insiders say.

New tricks

Doubts grow on Commerzbank strategy

Commerzbank’s revamp has yet to bear fruit and it’s at risk of being evicted from the DAX. But CEO Martin Zielke remains committed to his strategy of digital change and growth.  

Something for everyone

Hamburg fights housing crunch with cooperation

City planners and developers are teaming up to assure a steady flow of new residences in Germany's premier port – a sensible model worth adopting by others.

Feeling good

Germany’s economic slowdown is postponed, Ifo says

Germany’s business outlook has brightened because fears of a trade war with the US have subsided, according to the latest Ifo business sentiment index.

Unreal Estate

Wealthy Stuttgart is poor in living space

Passion for fruit trees and a sheer lack of available land are making a housing shortage worse in the booming Swabian heartland.

Gold bricks

German real estate

Long tipped as a rising star in the European market, Germany has finally come into its own. Our series on residential property highlights some favorite cities for expats and investors alike.

passive aggressive

German banks resist mandatory accounts amid charges of high fees

New legislation ordering banks to extend payments services to people without accounts adds to their costs without boosting their profits.

Gold elephant?

Bundesbank hits a snag in headquarters revamp

Germany’s fabled central bank has a reputation for reliability and competence that its "campus project" will test – and may tarnish.

germany world largest trade surplus

Exports over imports

Germany has world’s largest trade surplus for third year

A study by the Ifo Institute puts Germany, Japan and the Netherlands at the top this year. Who has the biggest deficit? The US, much to Trump's chagrin, no doubt.

Austere future

German finance minister says Greece bailout was a success

Economists say the country must make good on cost-cutting and debt-servicing pledges before they sound the all-clear.

money laundering in germany

Gangsters' paradise

Germany: A great place for money laundering

Lax laws draw criminal gangs from around the world to Germany. Constrained by strict regulation and mind-boggling bureaucracy, police are struggling to fight crime.

€200,000 minimum

Fintech promises to give small investors access to private equity

Berlin's Moonfare uses an internet interface to bundle client money for investing in buyout funds that promise impressive returns.

machine learning

German insurers follow global trend to AI

Algorithms and supercomputers are revolutionizing the insurance industry. Germany has no intention of being left behind.

David vs Goliath

Little-known fintech Wirecard overtakes Deutsche Bank

Wirecard, a rising fintech star, is now worth more than staid old Deutsche Bank. Next, the startup may displace Commerzbank in the DAX index.