After a $354 Billion U.S. Bailout, Germany’s Deutsche Bank Still Has $49 Trillion in Derivatives

When it comes to derivatives exposure, Deutsche Bank is in the same league as the bank holding companies of U.S. juggernauts JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. But its financial health is much weaker.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens and cross-posted from Wall Street on Parade

On July 21, 2011, when the GAO released its audit of the Federal Reserve’s secret $16.1 trillion in bank loans during the financial crisis, a foreign bank ranked number 9 on the list of the largest borrowers. The loans went not just to the largest banks on Wall Street but to foreign derivative counterparties to the Wall Street banks. The foreign bank that ranked 9 on the list of the largest borrowers was Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, which took $354 billion in revolving loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

According to an article in the Financial Times last week “Germany’s federal and state governments have spent €70 billionn on bailing out banks since the financial crisis, according to an estimate by Gerhard Schick, head of lobby group Finance Watch.” The figure of  €70bn is about 79 billion U.S. dollars. Why did the U.S. Fed throw $364 billion at one German bank when its country of origin has only reached in its pocket to the tune of $79 billion for all of its troubled banks? (Read on for the answer.)

During 2018, the serially troubled Deutsche Bank – which still has a vast derivatives footprint in the U.S. as counterparty to some of the largest banks on Wall Street – trimmed its exposure to derivatives from a notional €48.266 trillion to a notional €43.459 trillion (49 trillion U.S. dollars) according to its 2018 annual report. A derivatives book of $49 trillion notional puts Deutsche Bank in the same league as the bank holding companies of U.S. juggernauts JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, which logged in at $48 trillion, $47 trillion and $42 trillion, respectively, at the end of December 2018 according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). (See Table 2 at this link.)

Deutsche Bank’s feeble 10 percent reduction in mind-numbing derivatives stands in stark contrast to the reduction in Deutsche Bank’s share price last year. On the first trading day of 2018, Deutsche Bank opened at $19.27. On the last trading day of the year, December 31, 2018, Deutsche Bank closed at $8.15 – a reduction in shareholder value of 58 percent… 

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