The chief executive of HSH Nordbank, Stefan Ermisch, probably has one of the most difficult jobs imaginable in Germany’s banking sector.
Like the entire industry, the state-owned regional bank, one of Germany’s Landesbanken, is suffering as a result of chronically low interest rates, which are putting pressure on returns. At the same time, HSH is Germany’s biggest shipping financier and is suffering from unpaid loans.
The crisis in the shipping market over the last eight years, due to an oversupply of vessels and falling demand, has caused ship owners to run out of liquidity. Some are unable to service their loans regularly, while others have gone bust.