While the market’s attention has been transfixed by the latest crash in the stock of Europe’s biggest bank, now that concerns about Deutsche Bank’s $2 trillion balance sheet have violently resurfaced, it is worth recalling that Germany’s “other” mega bank, DB’s smaller rival, Commerzbank, whose balance sheet is hardly looking much healthier, is planning to cut around 9,000 jobs over the coming years as Germany’s second biggest lender pushes ahead with a restructuring plan, Handelsblatt reported earlier today, citing unnamed sources in the finance industry.
The round of layoffs would eliminate a massive 18% of the bank’s entire workforce.
Like in the case of Deutsche Bank, squeezed by negative European Central Bank interest rates, Commerzbank has been seeking ways to boost revenue by passing on costs to corporate customers and increasing fees for retail depositors, but profit margins remain thin. That leaves cost cutting high on the agenda.
Handelsblatt said it’s not clear yet whether Commerzbank will resort to outright dismissals. The bank’s restructuring will run through 2020 with costs of up to 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion), according to the newspaper.
In addition to the massive layoffs, the bank will scrap its dividend payments for 2016 as part of the strategy revamp due to be published by Chief Executive Martin Zielke on Friday, Handelsblatt reported.
All the soon to be laid off workers can send their thank you notes to Mario Draghi: no need to even pony up for international postage – the ECB is conveniently located in Frankfurt.
* * *