Europe-US banking

When Two Worlds Collide

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The investment banking business is back in full swing on Wall Street. In Europe, on the other hand, banks are still reeling from the financial crisis.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • According to Belgian think tank Bruegel, US banks increased their market share in Europe from 37 to 45 percent between 2005 and 2015.
    • The combined revenue of the 10 largest US banks is more than four times that of the 10 largest European banks.
    • The gap between American and European banks is expected to widen even further.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Bank of America Corporate Headquarters
Standing tall: Workers at Bank of America's headquarters in Charlotte, North carolina, have little to worry about. Source: Moment/Getty Images

Armin von Falkenhayn is familiar with both the American and the European side of the banking business. He was with Deutsche Bank for 25 years, serving as the assistant to former Chief Executive Josef Ackermann and, most recently, as head of investment banking in Germany.

He would have continued on his career trajectory if the bank had not been restructured and its investment business slashed in 2014, after which Mr. Falkenhayn looked for greener pastures. A year later, he was appointed head of German operations at Bank of America in Frankfurt.

Things are going well for him and the bank, extremely well in fact. After the financial crisis, the bank only played a secondary role in Germany, but things have been moving sharply uphill in recent years. Bank of America has been involved in almost all major German transactions, including chemical giant Bayer’s acquisition of seed producer Monsanto, the merger of gas suppliers Linde and Praxair, and the recent failed tie-up of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse. America’s second-largest bank is capturing the German investment bank business bit by bit.

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