Deutsche Bank is promising to press ahead with targeted acquisitions and job cuts in order to improve its global competitiveness. That pledge came as employees demonstrated against the layoffs outside the venue for the bank’s annual general meeting in Frankfurt. One protesting worker said: “Deutsche Bank can only keep its position at the top with good people working for it.
Another employee complained: “I can’t understand why this is happening with the bank having made such a big profit last year. The people who’ve helped create that profit are now being sacked.” At the shareholders’ meeting Chief Executive Josef Ackermann defended the layoffs. He said: “Unfortunately we have been forced to cut jobs in order to remain competitive, that’s why we are reducing the staff by 1,920 in Germany. Worldwide Deutsche Bank is cutting its work force by 6,400.
It says it needs to do that to stay as Germany’s top bank, with 900 billion euros in assets, but only 1,700 branches. Its nearest rival, HVB, is only just over half the size in asset terms but has 2,100 branches. Some investors are not happy about that. They have criticised Deutsche Bank for relying too heavily on investment banking and would like to see an increase in its retail business.
Responding to that Ackermann said the bank would take advantage of good acquisition opportunities to supplement growth but only if they were “economically sensible.”