Collateral Damage

No Bailout for Deutsche Bank, Please

Dunkle Wolken über der Deutschen Bank
Dark clouds gather over Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Deutsche Bank is so entwined in the global financial markets that its deep troubles could trigger the next major monetary crisis.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Shares of Germany’s largest bank fell to an historic low on Monday after a report that Chancellor Angela Merkel had ruled out government aid for the struggling institution. Both sides denied the report.
    • The Frankfurt-based bank has been hobbled by legal costs and penalties from cases that stretch back more than a decade.
    • John Cryan, who was put in command of Deutsche Bank last year, wants to settle key legal cases and restructure the bank with job cuts and branch closures worldwide.
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    Audio

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At the height of the financial crisis, Josef Ackermann rose above his rivals. At the time, he was chief executive of Germany’s most powerful financial institution. He stated for the record in 2008 that he would be ashamed if Deutsche Bank were forced to accept help from the government.

Eight years on, it’s clear these words are a flagrant example of the hubris that contributed decisively to Deutsche Bank’s deep fall.

The bank, though still an icon of German industry, is in bad shape. So much so that there is now open discussion about whether the government should lend a helping hand to the once self-confident financial powerhouse in Frankfurt.

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