Deutsche Bank ekes out profit, refocuses investment bank

Deutsche Bank ekes out profit, refocuses investment bank
The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Deutsche Bank made 120 million euros ($146 million) in the first quarter as exchange rates and lower revenues at its investment banking business weighed on earnings, the company said Thursday.

The bank, which replaced CEO John Cryan earlier this month and is struggling to profit after three straight full-year losses, said it would cut the number of top managers and take steps to refocus its investment banking operation on its European base and on areas where it has consistent profits.

The first-quarter result compared with profit of 575 million euros in the same quarter a year ago but was an improvement from a 2.4 billion loss in the last quarter of 2017, when the company had a large one-time loss related to tax changes in the U.S.

Revenues fell 5 percent to 6.98 billion euros ($8.5 million). The bank said much of the decline resulted from the euro’s rise against the dollar.

New CEO Christian Sewing said in a statement that some areas of the bank’s business had done well, such as its DWS asset management business and some areas at the investment banking division. “However, we are not strong enough in other areas of this business,” he said. “Therefore we have to act decisively and to adjust our strategy. There is no time to lose as the current returns for our shareholders are unacceptable.”

The bank said it would cut the membership of its top management body to nine from 12 and eliminate the practice of having co-heads of departments in an effort to speed decision-making.

Cryan became CEO in 2015 and led the bank through its efforts to cut costs and resolve legal misconduct cases that cost the bank billions, including a $7.2 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over securities based on mortgages to people with shaky credit. Progress was slow and though the bank restored its dividend last year, shareholders got only 11 cents per share.