Deutsche Bank underwent a multibillion-euro restructure in recent years aimed at reducing costs and improving profitability. The lender recorded annual net income of 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in 2022, up 159% from the previous year.
Its CET1 ratio — a measure of bank solvency — came in at 13.4% at the end of 2022, while its liquidity coverage ratio was 142% and its net stable funding ratio stood at 119%. These figures would not indicate that there is any cause for concern about the bank’s solvency or liquidity position.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference in Brussels on Friday that Deutsche Bank had “thoroughly reorganized and modernized its business model and is a very profitable bank,” adding that there is no basis to speculate about its future.
‘Just not very scary’
Some of the concerns around Deutsche Bank have centered on its U.S. commercial real estate exposures and substantial derivatives book.
However, research firm Autonomous, a subsidiary of AllianceBernstein, on Friday dismissed these concerns as both “well known” and “just not very scary,” pointing to the bank’s “robust capital and liquidity positions.”
European banks (.SX7P) fell 3.8% and were set for their third week of declines, after the failure of U.S. mid-sized lenders and the turmoil at Credit Suisse highlighted growing risks to banks in the wake of tightening financial conditions.
“Our Underperform rating on the stock is simply driven by our view that there are more attractive equity stories elsewhere in the sector (i.e. relative value),” Autonomous strategists Stuart Graham and Leona Li said in a research note.
“We have no concerns about Deutsche’s viability or asset marks. To be crystal clear – Deutsche is NOT the next Credit Suisse.”
Unlike the stricken Swiss lender, they highlighted that Deutsche is “solidly profitable,” and Autonomous forecasts a return on tangible book value of 7.1% for 2023, rising to 8.5% by 2025.
‘Fresh and intense focus’ on liquidity
Credit Suisse’s collapse boiled down to a combination of three causes, according to JPMorgan. These were a “string of governance failures that had eroded confidence in management’s abilities,” a challenging market backdrop that hampered the bank’s restructuring plan, and the market’s “fresh and intense focus on liquidity risk” in the wake of the SVB collapse.
While the latter proved to be the final trigger, the Wall Street bank argued that the importance of the environment in which Credit Suisse was trying to overhaul its business model could not be understated, as illustrated by a comparison with Deutsche.
“The German bank had its own share of headline pressure and governance fumbles, and in our view had a far lower quality franchise to begin with, which while significantly less levered today, still commands a relatively elevated cost base and has relied on its FICC (fixed income, currencies and commodities) trading franchise for organic capital generation and credit re-rating,” JPMorgan strategists said in a note Friday.