By David Malone and cross-posted from Golem XIV
Deutsche Bank, one of Europe’s behemoths, is in very deep trouble having lost 90% 0f its share price value since 2007, has been falling sharply all this last year (48% loss this year) and, with its $42 Trillion in Derivatives exposure was singled out by the IMF, as the bank which…
“appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks…”
Of course Deutsche argues the standard ‘derivatives-aren’t-a-problem’ line, that this 42 trillion all nets out and their real exposure is a fraction of that vast figure. Which is fine as long as you think that in the event of Deutsche coming unstuck, 42 trillions-worth of derivatives contracts can be held in abeyance for the time it would take for all those contracts to be netted out. As I’ve said before netting out is akin to getting a rowing boat full of people to all change places without the boat overturning.
And now Deutsche has been threatened by the US DoJ with a $14 billion fine for its crimes for selling knowingly over-valued RMBS (Residential Mortgage Backed Securities) in the build up to the financial crash of 2007.
Deutsche cannot pay $14 billion without raising a great deal of cash. Deutsche has put aside $5.5 billion for paying fines. A mere 9 billion short. So could Deutsche go down? Financially yes it could. But politically, I doubt it. And it’s the tension between these two answers, between the parlous financial state and the huge political significance of Deutsche, that I find interesting.
Deutsche is Germany’s only G-SIB (Global Systemically Important Bank).
Deutsche is Germany’s financial flag carrier. It stands at the centre of Germany’s long held desire to have Frankfurt eclipse London as Europe’s financial centre. Although Germany also has Allianz as a G-SII (Global systemically Important Insurer), without Deutsche Bank Germany ceases to be a globally significant financial nation (G-SFN – OK I made that one up). Without Deutsche Germany would not sit at the top table of global finance. France would. France has three G-SIBs. The balance between France and Germany within Europe would shift. Maintaining that balance between France and Germany, at the heart of Europe, has been critical in European affairs since WWI…