Through the rosiest colored glasses, one might say that things at Deutsche Bank have been really, massively, insanely bad of late. Like post-Apocalyptic hellscape bad. Among the ways things have gone wrong for DB this year include but are not limited to:
- Second quarter net income falling a comical 98%
- Bloomberg detailing the ways CEO John Cryan is doing a terrible job
- The results of a survey (released by Deutsche Bank!) revealing a large chunk of employees are embarrassed to list "Deutsche Bank" on their résumés
- Failing its stress test
- A report of "serious" lapses in so-called attempts to prevent money laundering
- Regulators putting the number of employees associated with LIBOR rigging at twenty-nine (29!)
- An investigation of "a series of trades that may have improperly generated millions of dollars in personal profits, some at the bank’s expense, for a handful of current and former employees"
Most recently, management's big idea for turning things around was: let's just lower all of our expectations for what this company is capable of, which is very little vis-a-vis making money and not running afoul of the law and being a place people are proud to work for or at the very least don't immediately change the conversation when asked at parties "So what do you do?"
So it wouldn't be THAT crazy to think that, with morale in the toilet and everyone from interns to senior executives just trying to get through the day without crying at their desks, a proposal from the Justice Department to make a huge investigation into DB's mortgage practices go away with one check might be met with "Fine, whatever, just tell us where to sign." That even if the number the DOJ threw out was so hilariously big as to sound like a joke, that the brow-beaten Germans would just go for it because the mood around there is 'Life sucks and then you die' so who really cares.
But apparently despite all Deutsche has gone through and all it will probably continue to go through in the future, it was able to summon a teeny tiny shred of dignity and respond to the $14 billion figure with whatever is German for "You must think we're really stupid" and also:
“Deutsche Bank has no intent to settle these potential civil claims anywhere near the number cited,” the bank said. “The negotiations are only just beginning. The bank expects that they will lead to an outcome similar to those of peer banks which have settled at materially lower amounts.” Deutsche Bank hasn’t said what it has set aside in anticipation of a settlement. The bank held €5.5 billion ($6.2 billion) in total litigation reserves as of June 30, and said it expected to set aside more before the end of the year. Privately, Deutsche Bank lawyers have suggested that the bank views between $2 billion and $3 billion as a reasonable cost to close out the Justice Department’s mortgage-related probe quickly, according to people familiar with internal bank discussions and signals communicated to investors. One factor in Deutsche Bank executives’ thinking is that the lender already paid $1.9 billion in 2013 to settle some U.S. claims tied to mortgage-backed securities, some of the people said.