MEMO: Deutsche Bank CEO tells staff: 'Some forces in the markets are currently trying to damage trust'

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan has sent a letter to employees reassuring them on the health of the business as the share price plummets.

Cryan told staff in a memo sent Friday and published online that “Ongoing rumours are causing significant swings in our stock price,” adding: “Trust is the foundation of banking. Some forces in the markets are currently trying to damage this trust.”

The memo has helped Deutsche Bank shares claw back some ground in Frankfurt, although they are still down by over 4%.

Deutsche Bank shares crashed 7% in the US and Germany on Friday after reports that hedge fund clients were restricting business with the bank to limit exposure.

Shares plummeted close to 30-year lows earlier this week after reports surfaced that the US Department of Justice is looking to impose a $14 billion fine for mortgage-backed security misselling in the run-up to the financial crisis. The fine is bigger than the banks market value, leading to fears it would be sunk by such a large fine. 

There have also been reports in Germany that Berlin is preparing a bailout for the lender as a final backstop, although the government has repeatedly denied this.

Here’s the full memo Cryan sent to staff on Friday:

Dear Colleagues,

You will have seen speculation in the media that a few of our hedge fund clients have reduced some activities with us. That is causing unjustified concerns. We should consider this in the context of the bigger picture: Deutsche Bank overall has more than 20 million clients.

I understand if you feel concerned by the extensive coverage on this issue. Our bank has become subject to speculation. Ongoing rumours are causing significant swings in our stock price.

It is our task now to prevent distorted perception from further interrupting our daily business. Trust is the foundation of banking. Some forces in the markets are currently trying to damage this trust.

Deutsche Bank has strong fundamentals. Let me mention some of the most important facts at this point:

1. We fulfil all current capital requirements and our restructuring is well on track. We completed the disposal of the British insurer Abbey Life this week and the sale of our stake in the Chinese Hua Xia Bank will be finalised soon. This will further improve our capital ratio.

2. We have significantly decreased our market and credit risk in recent years. At no point in the last two decades has the balance sheet of Deutsche Bank been as stable as it is today.

3. Despite low interest rates and a difficult environment we posted a pre-tax profit of about 1 billion euros in the first half of 2016. Before extraordinary items like restructuring costs, we earned about 1.7 billion euros. This demonstrates the operating strength of Deutsche Bank.

4. In a situation like this, the most important factor is our liquidity reserves. Currently they still amount to more than 215 billion euros. This is an extremely comfortable buffer. This is clear proof of how conservatively we have planned. This is acknowledged by numerous banking analysts.

There is therefore no basis for this speculation. Nor can uncertainty about the outcome of our litigation cases in the US explain this pressure on our stock price, if we take the settlements of our peers as a benchmark.

You have all done a tremendous job over the past few days. You are the ones who are in constant contact with our clients and making it clear how Deutsche Bank is really doing. You are Deutsche Bank — that is impressively clear. All of us in the Management Board highly appreciate it.

You will hear back from me soon. Please keep working as you have been doing so far. We are and we remain a strong Deutsche Bank.

Yours sincerely,

John Cryan

The rearguard action from Cryan appears to be working. Deutsche Bank shares fell by as much as 8% on Friday morning, falling below the symbolically important €10 level, but have since recovered slightly. Here’s how Deutsche Bank shares look at 10.55 a.m. BST (5.55 a.m. ET) in Frankfurt:

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