Deutsche Bank Exec Says European Bank Consolidation Is Coming

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG endorsed the view that European banking consolidation is coming, underscoring the pressure the German lender is confronting over a possible government-brokered combination with Commerzbank AG.

"There’s a lot of talk in the sector overall that over time, mergers, consolidation in the European banking sector would be sensible for a variety of reasons," Chief Financial Officer James von Moltke said in a Bloomberg TV interview as fourth-quarter results were published. "We’ve tended to agree with that. What form it takes, how long it takes to do is kind of anybody’s guess at this point."

In September, Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said the bank was open to a merger but only once it boosts its profitability over the next 18 months.

Since then, things have only gotten tougher and now bank executives are worried that they’re down to the last 60 days to turn around their struggling franchise, according to people familiar with their thinking. The bank’s ability to avoid a merger with Commerzbank could rest on its performance in the first quarter of 2019, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

For now, though, "we feel we are in control of our own destiny," von Moltke said.

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