Although Deutsche Bank says it knows it cannot return to the market domination it enjoyed before the 2008 financial crisis, according to Reuters reports on Wednesday (Aug. 29), CEO Christian Sewing defended his growth efforts at a recent banking conference.
The publication said Sewing is doubling down on growth efforts after cutting the bank’s global equities business and U.S. bond trading, as well as its operations serving hedge funds. The bank has also trimmed staff numbers since Sewing took the position in April.
“Our global ambitions will not be up for debate under my leadership,” he said. “I am quite convinced that this global position is just as important for our economy today as it was after the fall of the [Berlin] Wall.”
Sewing added that job and asset cuts are not a sign that the bank is pulling back. Rather, he said the FI hopes to reinforce its position in the market, seeking not only to stunt recent years of poor performance, but to reverse the trend and obtain a leadership role in the European banking segment.
Earlier this month, the FI finalized one of several selloffs, completing the sale of its corporate services business once held by Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Banking division.
It would be “too risky” to allow non-European banks to lead the way of financing and risk management in Europe, Sewing added.
According to reports, several years of losses, a sudden leadership change, a failure of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stress test and a downgrade from Standard & Poor’s analysts have all combined to put Deutsche Bank on shaky ground. While the FI is Germany’s largest lender, Sewing said he is not looking to build the bank back up as a global industry leader.
Rather, trimming off other assets will allow Deutsche to concentrate its focus on its strongest areas, including payments, dollar and euro clearing and FX trading, reports said.
“Europe doesn’t need as many banks as possible,” Sewing stated. “It especially needs strong banks.”
He did not comment on rumors that Deutsche could be looking to merge with Commerzbank, reports said.