Deutsche Bank CEO Sewing Promises Discipline in Growth Quest

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said the bank will seek to increase revenue without sacrificing discipline as he attempts to reboot the troubled German lender.

“We have our costs under control and built a solid foundation with a strong capital base and a very low risk profile,” Sewing said, according to prepared remarks that he was due to deliver in Brussels on Wednesday night. “2019 is about retaining our rigorous discipline while boosting revenues: our goal is controlled growth.”

Deutsche Bank CEO Sewing Promises Discipline in Growth Quest

Germany’s biggest bank on Friday reported its eighth straight quarterly decline in revenue in a period that was overshadowed by market gyrations and a police raid on its headquarters. The prolonged contraction is adding pressure on the firm to explore alternative fixes, such as a government-brokered merger with Commerzbank AG. Sewing’s predecessor John Cryan also pledged -- and failed -- to restore controlled growth.

Sewing acknowledged on Wednesday that there’s a lot of speculation about whether his bank will become “more and more German,” adding that the bank still envisioned a global role for itself. “It remains our ambition to be the leading corporate and investment bank with a global reach.”

Sewing’s speech comes days after Deutsche Bank’s head of anti-financial crime appeared before a European Parliament committee to shed light on the firm’s response to a host of scandals including a connection to the Danske Bank A/S money-laundering case. Lawmakers were left frustrated by answers from the executive, Stephan Wilken.

“We take these matters very seriously,” Sewing said. But “we are simply not allowed to disclose details about clients or about suspicious action alerts, even when asked by the highly respected members of the European Parliament.”

Speaking in Frankfurt earlier, Sewing also indicated that the German government’s recent increase in support for the country’s financial sector is positive for the industry.

“It’s not just about crisis situations, it’s about a fundamental infrastructure of our country and Europe,” he said, according to a text of the speech. “I have the impression that Berlin now sees it this way, too, and that the government is advocating for this in Europe.”

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