Deutsche Bank’s Top Officials Rejected a Loan to Trump in 2016

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop in North Charleston, S.C. Trump’s approach to Twitter has been as unorthodox as his presidential campaign. The billionaire’s use of the social media service has been unpredictable …
AP/Matt Rourke, File

President Donald Trump’s critics have accused him of using the presidency to enrich himself and even of originally seeking the presidency as a marketing stunt to promote the Trump brand.

But evidence points in the opposite direction: seeking and obtaining the presidency has come at a significant financial cost to Trump and his companies.

Even while Trump was stacking up wins in primaries in New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Nevada, his longtime bankers were discovering their own bosses were no longer willing to extend credit to his companies, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, Trump’s company contacted Deutsche Bank’s Rosemary Vrablic, who had long served as Trump’s contact with the German bank’s private banking group in New York, in early 2016 seeking a loan for its property in Scotland, Turnberry. The bankers in private banking initially greenlighted the loan but senior executives in New York objected, “arguing that Mr. Trump’s candidacy made such a loan unacceptably risky, the three people said. In part, they feared the bank’s reputation could be harmed if the transaction were to become public because of the polarizing statements Mr. Trump was making on the campaign trail.”

In other words, the senior Wall Street faction of Deutsche Bank objected to the loan for purely political reasons. They didn’t like the way Trump talked about immigration, trade, crime, and just about everything else. They worried lending to Trump would damage their bank’s reputation even though just a few months later American voters would choose Trump as their president.

The New York Times reports:

Officials in the private-banking unit protested that Deutsche Bank already had numerous outstanding loans to Mr. Trump and that there was no reason not to make another, two of the people said. The decision was appealed to Deutsche Bank’s top executives in Frankfurt.

hat was the first time that some senior officials realized the extent of their bank’s dealings with Mr. Trump, the three people said.

The proposed loan was examined by an internal committee that is responsible for vetting transactions to ensure they do not pose serious risks to the bank’s reputation, the people said. That March, the committee unanimously rejected the loan. Christian Sewing — who was in charge of Deutsche Bank’s wealth-management division and would become chief executive two years later — was among those who made the final decision, the people said.

The Times adds that this rejected loan “will most likely draw the interest of congressional Democrats.”

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