Deutsche Bank sent a memo, seen by Business Insider, to staff reassuring them of the bank’s financial position and coaching them on what to tell clients who ask about the company’s bombed-out share price.
Deutsche Bank shares crashed to a 33-year low this week, amid concerns about big fines in the US and the bank’s general financial health.
Shares began crashing after the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Department of Justice is seeking a $14 billion (£10.7 billion, €12.4 billion) settlement with the bank over misselling mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis. This led to fears that the bank would have to raise additional capital, as the floated figure is well above Deutsche Bank’s settlement reserves.
In an internal memo to staff, seen by Business Insider, the bank repeats its line that it has “no intention to settle these potential civil claims anywhere near the opening position of $14 billion.” It adds: “Regarding litigation, we are confident we can put some important cases behind us in the near future.”
Deutsche Bank also reassures employees about its financial position in the memo, sent to staff on Tuesday. The bank says it has “no current plans to raise capital” and emphasises that it has ample reserves to cover debt payments.
The memo reads:
“CDS spreads which reflect risk of our senior unsecured debt are no longer an especially reliable proxy for profitability of default. Thin volumes amplify price movements. Year-to-date, Deutsche Bank’s funding costs have been substantially lower than CDS spreads indicate.”
CDS stands for “credit default swap” and is basically a form of insurance against Deutsche Bank defaulting on its debt. The price of this insurance has been going up, signalling that the market thinks a default is more likely. But the bank argued in the note that the price does not reflect its underlying business and is more down to a few people making bullish bets than reality.
The bank told staff that the share price “reflects a number of uncertainties regarding the macroeconomic environment, interest rates and the consequences of the Brexit vote, but also regarding DB-specific factors like litigation.”
Deutsche Bank is a “much safer and stronger bank than it was before the financial crisis,” the memo says, adding that “depositors enjoy very significant protection.”
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the memo when contacted by Business Insider.
As well as reassuring staff privately, Deutsche Bank management have begun a public defence of the share price. An interview with CEO John Cryan was published in Bild, Germany’s best-selling daily, on Wednesday morning carrying the headline: “State aid is not an issue.”
The action appears to be working. Deutsche Bank shares opened over 3% higher on Wednesday, suggesting a possible end to 4 days of steep falls.
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