Deutsche Bank is not a significant repository of expectations, either its own or others’, these days, as over the last several years it has led the financial services industry in dashing them. Hopes? Sure. Those spring eternal, and Deutsche Bank has plenty of them: to finish its firings, continue doing business in London (for some reason), to not get fined on an hourly basis, to find a not-necessarily-wealthy suitor to sweep it off its feet, to not see police cruisers en masse coming to a stop on the Taunusanlage, that none of its current clients will be revealed to be notorious sex criminals, that it will eventually figure out how to not launder money, that someone young and cool and with other prospects might one day deign to work for it, to be anything other than what it currently is, to live to see another day.

But it would be a fool’s errand to actually expect any of those things, or really anything good, for Deutsche Bank. Still, the Germans occasionally manage to do something with a passing resemblance to good, like passing a stress test (however dubious an achievement that may be), striking a favorable deal with regulators, telling the Justice Department to go screw itself, or coming up with a half-decent idea. And now, the remarkable twin feats of both posting a profit and the magic trick of exceeding expectations where none exist.

Deutsche Bank AG said late Sunday that it will beat analyst expectations and report a first-quarter profit as higher revenue and lower expenses have helped it offset a €500 million charge it is taking for credit losses resulting from the coronavirus outbreak…. In an unscheduled announcement late Sunday, days ahead of its official earnings release scheduled for Wednesday, Deutsche Bank reported a 12.8% CET1 ratio at the end of the quarter, down from 13.6% at year-end. It said its net income for the three months ended March 31 was €66 million on revenue of €6.4 billion and noninterest expenses of €5.6 billion. That compares with net income of €201 million on revenue of €6.35 billion and noninterest expenses of €5.91 billion a year prior.

Of course, this is Deutsche Bank, so it prudently moved to exterminate any expectations that might arise that this good fortune would continue.

Its provisions for soured credit were probably the highest in six years and the bank scrapped its minimum target for capital buffers as fallout from the virus spreads./Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing has been trying to reassure stakeholders the bank is entering the crisis stronger than it has been in a long time after he cut risk and refocused on financing Germany’s exporters. Yet many of those clients are now hit hard by widescale lockdowns and disruptions of global supply chains, reviving old fears about the ability of the country’s largest lender to weather another severe crisis./“This extraordinary economic environment suggests that we will see a higher level of credit defaults,” Deutsche Bank said.

Deutsche Bank Says Results Will Beat Expectations, Eases Capital Targets to Face Coronavirus [WSJ]
Deutsche Bank Warns of Loan Defaults After Surprise Profit [Bloomberg]

Related