Deutsche Bank-Postbank

Unhappy Marriage, Tougher Divorce

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Deutsche Bank is struggling to untangle itself from Postbank.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • Neither bank has much love for the other, and both Deutsche Bank and Postbank would do better on their own. But the two banks are struggling to cut the chord.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • The financially-troubled Deutsche Bank is in the middle of a deep restructuring that amounts to a downsizing.
    • Deutsche Bank’s takeover of Postbank in 2008 has essentially backfired on Germany’s largest bank.
    • The Spain-based Santander Group is said to be a possible buyer of Bonn-based Postbank.
  • Audio

    Audio

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The mood at the annual management conference of Postbank, the retail subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, hadn’t been this good in a long time.

A participant at the December gathering in Berlin reported that many of the several hundred Postbank managers on hand seemed to be feeling liberated.

After seven long years of being owned by the ailing Deutsche Bank, a future was beckoning to Postbank employees. Germany’s largest financial institution last year announced plans to divest itself of Postbank. The bank is supposed to be floated or sold by the end of this year. The initial signs were that there would be some interesting takers, including Austria’s Bawag.

It’s never been a particularly happy marriage. The workers are far removed from the many legal scandals that have dented their parent company’s reputation over the years. Many Postbank employees, who are used to a more traditional style of banking unlike that of the risky high-flying world of investment banking, consider Deutsche Bank’s executives to be arrogant.

Employees saw the split as a chance for a fresh start. Postbank head Frank Strauss told Handelsblatt back in August that an initial public offering was a “very acceptable and desirable solution for Postbank.”

The optimistic mood, however, is likely to have lessened since the start of the year. German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche has learned that the executive staff at Deutsche Bank has shelved the plan to divest Postbank – at least for this year.

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