Original source: Zero Hedge
Deutsche Bank’s war of words with the ECB is not new: it was first unveiled in February when, as we wrote at the time “A Wounded Deutsche Bank Lashed Out At Central Bankers: Stop Easing, You Are Crushing Us.” Europe’s largest bank, with the massive derivatives book, then upped the ante several months later in June, when its chief economist Folkerts-Landau launched a shocking anti-ECB rant inwhich it warned of social unrest and another Great Depression.
Ironically, these infamous diatribes hurt more than helped: telegraphing to the market just how hurt DB was as a result of the ECB’s monetary policy, the market punished its stock, which has been recently trading within spitting distance of all time lows, in effect making Deutsche Bank’s life even harder as it now has to contend not only with its own internal profitability problems, but also has to maintain a market-facing facade that all is well. So far, it has not worked out very well, prompting numerous comparisons to another infamous bank.
So, in what may have been DB’s loudest cry for help against the ECB’s unwavering commitment to rock-bottom interest rates, the bank’s CEO, John Cryan, warned in a guest commentary ahead of the Handelsblatt Banking Summit titled, appropriately enough “Banks in Upheaval”, to be held in Frankfurt on August 31 and September 1, that “monetary policy is now running counter to the aims of strengthening the economy and making the European banking system safer.”
However, his most striking warning was not aimed at Mario Draghi, but at Germany itself – and ostensibly his own clients – implicitly suggesting that if Deutsche Bank goes down it is taking everyone down with it, when, as cited by Bloomberg, he warned of “fatal consequences” for savers and pension planswhile “companies refrain from investments due to ongoing uncertainty and demand less loans.”
The details are known to those who have followed the paradox of central bank failure – if only for the economy and ordinary people – summarized earlier today by Citi’s Matt King.
Quoted by Handelsblatt, Cryan warned that “the ECB’s policy is squeezing the margins of Europe’s struggling banks, making it harder for insurers to find profitable investments and dangerously distorting financial market prices.” Meanwhile, he added, the hoped-for benefits haven’t materialized. “Given the continued uncertainty, companies are holding back on investments and are hardly seeking any credit anymore,” he wrote.
He added that it was unacceptable that financial regulators demanded that banks increase their safety cushions but then imposed punitive interest rates on these additional reserves.
Many agree with Cryan:”The hoped for pan-European investment boost hasn’t happened, and neither have the expected structural reforms in the affected euro member states,” said Georg Fahrenschon, president of the German Savings Bank Association. Instead, uncertainty is growing throughout the euro zone in light of the “horrendous sums of money the ECB is now directly pumping into the markets,” he added.
While Cryan admits that the ECB’s intervention did avoid an all out collapse in Europe it has done so at extreme costs, like negative rates on most German debt. Which is why, Cryan writes it is high time for a change in direction at the ECB. He would say that: his bank is in the midst of a painful restructuring and battling to keep the confidence of investors, so the side effects of the ECB’s policy are causing it particular pain. That’s one reason why Mr. Cryan is particularly critical of the negative interest rate on bank deposits at the ECB. He said net interest income, traditionally the most important pillar of bank earnings in the euro zone, had fallen by 7 percent since 2009…