In the midst of the LaRouche campaign to save Deutsche Bank, close down its casino, and turn it back into Alfred Herrhausen’s bank, a very long article appeared July 18 in the Frankfurter Allgemaine Zeitung, “Deutsche Bank’s Last Chance,” a discussion of what has happened to the bank since Herrhausen’s assassination in 1989.
LaRouchePAC in Manhattan organizing for a controlled reorganization and recapitalization of Germany’s leading bank.
The article, by the FAZ‘s financial markets editor Gerald Braunberger, does not discuss the European bank crisis, the world economy, or the threat of Deutsche Bank’s immediate insolvency, but has a different purpose: recapping the debate within and around the bank over the past 25 or more years, as to what it should be.
Herrhausen, as Deutsche Bank’s CEO, reports Braunberger, referred to the “Anglo-Saxon financial culture” as “what we do not have” at his bank. Mixing that culture with German industrial bank culture since Herrhausen’s death has created great tension, he writes, and has had very bad results.
Immediately after Herrhausen’s death, Deutsche Bank under Chairman Hilmar Kopper still wanted to acquire a large share in the big Bavarian commercial lender, Bayerische Vereinsbank, anchoring it as a German industrial lending bank. The Bavarian government, instigated by Allianz Insurance, which was moving in on BV, blocked that. Instead, during the 1990s Deutsche Bank acquired the Wall Street investment firm Bankers Trust — which launched it massively into manipulation of mortgage-backed securities and their casino derivatives — and the London investment firm Morgan Grenfell. By 2000 the investment bankers “were strong enough to stop a planned fusion with Dresdner Bank,” and an acquisition of the postal savings institution, Postbank.
“Deutsche Bank in the following years divested itself of its numerous industrial investments in [germany]. Global investment banking achieved more and more dominance.”
Braunberger’s point is that the associated strategy of becoming “the world’s number-one investment bank — publicly stated most often by Hermann Ackermann as CEO — failed miserably, and has now brought Deutsche Bank to an absolute nadir. “The public no longer judges the investment bankers as the heroes, but as the plunderers of a weakened, internally divided bank.”
And, he concludes, from 2005 through 2015, “splitting” Deutsche Bank by hiving off the investment bank divisions has been always debated within it, but always rejected by its CEOs. The current, British CEO, John Cryan, has doubled down and wants to concentrate entirely on the investment bank side of the bank, although it is the side which lost 5.8 billion euros in 2015.
Meanwhile the bank’s “economic strategists” energetically promote helicopter money as an economic recovery policy.