Deutsche Bank

I realize it doesn’t actually work this way but I always imagine that sell-side analysts at big banks who cover other big banks enjoy sabotaging each other a little. “Take that, you Deutsche Bank jerks!,” Jernej Omahen might have thought as he hit send on this one:

Deutsche Bank AG fell the most in more than five months after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut the company to sell from hold, saying it may have to transfer $13 billion to its U.S. unit under new capital rules.

Deutsche Bank slid as much as 6.2 percent, the biggest intraday drop since Sept. 26, and traded at 33.07 euros at 1:40 p.m. in Frankfurt [closing at 33.66 / down 4.6%]. The stricter requirements may hurt profit at Europe’s biggest bank by assets and require it to ask shareholders for more money, Goldman Sachs analysts including Jernej Omahen wrote in an e-mailed report from London today.

Goldman’s note addresses two impacts of recent Fed moves to make international banks’ US operations safer: the capital impact, and the funding impact. The capital stuff is wholly imaginary, though I guess the economic consequences might be real enough. Start with this chart, and note that “Taunus” is basically shorthand for “Deutsche Bank’s US operations”:

If GS is right – I have no idea, I’ll just assume they are, but there are some assumptions and guesses here – the problem with Deutsche’s U.S. operations isn’t that they’re undercapitalized; it’s that they have negative capital. Read more »

According to the police, they found Brian Mulligan high on bath salts after “several” calls had been placed about a man in the area “trying to break into cars” that fit Mulligan’s description. He supposedly told them he was “tired,” which they say is why they drove him to a motel to get some shuteye. When he (allegedly) emerged hours later and started running through traffic despite officers’ orders to get out of the street, later assuming a “fight stance,” they decided it was necessary to deal with him in an aggressive manner. Didn’t want to, felt they owed it to him. According to Mulligan, it was more like this: Read more »

That’s them up there on the giant logo. Read more »

  • 31 Jan 2013 at 2:30 PM

Germany Looks At Its Banks

For all their saber-rattling and bold talk about a fix to the problem of global financial risk, the Germans haven’t done a hell of lot to rein in their banks. There is, for instance, no Großdeutschesvolckerregierung. At least, not yet. Read more »

  • 31 Jan 2013 at 2:04 PM
  • Banks

Deutsche Bank Improved Its Balance Sheet By Losing A Lot Of Money

Bank earnings season is always a little surreal, I guess because there’s an inherent surrealism about banking. Deutsche Bank reported earnings today,1 and those earnings had an up-is-down quality that Bloomberg’s summary captured in this amazing sentence:2

Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s biggest bank by assets, exceeded a goal for raising capital levels as co-Chief Executive Officer Anshu Jain focused on bolstering the firm’s finances rather than limiting losses.

So there’s one way of running a business where you bolster your finances by making money. And then there is global banking. Here is another, possibly even more astonishing line from the same article:

Deutsche Bank “took pain” in the quarter by booking a loss to boost its capital ratio without selling shares, Jain said.

Booking a loss to boost its capital ratio. Losing money, in the regular universe, should reduce your capital: capital is mostly retained earnings. Everything here is backwards.

Here is how Deutsche Bank boosted its capital ratios without (1) raising capital from the market or (2) making money: Read more »

The Germans might take an ax to bonuses, cutting them by 20 percent, or they might not. According to CEO Anshu Jain, what it may come down to is whether or not other banks will help him out here by getting on board with the proposed reductions, as it would make DB look bad to be the only firm doling out tough love this year. Thanks in advance. Read more »

There are two questions worth asking about today’s Wall Street Journal story about how Deutsche Bank “made at least €500 million ($654 million) in profit in 2008 from trades pegged to the interest rates under investigation by regulators world-wide”:

  • is that a lot?, and
  • did they do it by manipulating Libor?

The second one is hard, huh? Here’s the Journal:

[A] former employee has told regulators that some employees expressed concerns about the risks of the interest-rate bets, according to documents. He also said that Deutsche Bank officials dismissed those concerns because the bank could influence the rates they were betting on.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman said those allegations were “categorically false.”

So, who knows; Yves Smith says “unless the source can provide some sort of supporting evidence, this is ‘he said, she said,’ and the matter will shake out in the German bank’s favor.” I sort of come at this from the other direction, which is:

  • Every other bank has mountains of emails and IMs to the effect of “hey we’re gonna go mess with Libor don’t tell anyone.”
  • Deutsche isn’t, like, the #1 most-careful-with-emails-and-IMs bank in the history of banks.
  • So, totally possible that supporting evidence will float up, no?

Also totally possible that these were legitimate trades unrelated to a few bad apples at DB who were admittedly manipulating Libor, of course. But where is the fun in that?

So let’s talk about the first question. Read more »