Instead of doing what many have correctly suggested he should be doing, namely focusing on ways to raise more capital for the undercapitalized Deutsche Bank in order to stem the slow (at first) liquidity leak, first thing this morning CEO John Cryan issued another morale-boosting note to employees of Deustche Bank who have been watching their stock price crash to another record low, dipping under €10 in early trading for the first time ever. In the memo the embattled CEO worryingly did what Dick Fuld and other chief executives did when they felt the situation slipping out of control, namely blaming evil "rumor-spreading" shorts, saying "our bank has become subject to speculation. Ongoing rumours are causing significant swings in our stock price. ... Trust is the foundation of banking. Some forces in the markets are currently trying to damage this trust."
Just as important, Cryan confirms the Bloomberg report that "a few of our hedge fund clients have reduced some activities with us. That is causing unjustified concerns." As we explained last night, the concerns are very much justified if they spread to the biggest risk-factor for the German bank: its depositors, which collectively hold over €550 billion in liquidity-providing instruments.
He then tries to sweep the concerns under the rug saying that "We should consider this in the context of the bigger picture: Deutsche Bank overall has more than 20 million clients." Of course, however by the time the "context" switches over to the rest of the clients, or even a small portion of them, namely the depositors, it would be too late as by then the retail bank run will have begun.
Finally, Cryan confirms that there has been a liquidity outflow, when he says that the bank's liquidity reserves currently "amount to more than 215 billion euros." Considering just last night we estimated the liquidity reserves were €223 billion as of June 30, it appears there has been a modest outflow, even when accounting for the recent disposal of the British insurer Abbey Life.
In other words, Cryan once again fails to provide a clear plan how he will short up the bank's deteriorating liquidity, no mention of a capital raise or approach of the ECB, and most importantly, no specifica plan how to recover crumbling trust in the world's "most systematically important bank."
Cryan concludes by saying "You will hear back from me soon." On this he is absolutely correct.
Cryan's full memo to employees released early this morning below:
John Cryan, Deutsche Bank CEO, sent out the following message to the Bank’s employees on September 30, 2016
You will have seen speculation in the media that a few of our hedge fund clients have reduced some activities with us. That is causing unjustified concerns. We should consider this in the context of the bigger picture: Deutsche Bank overall has more than 20 million clients.
I understand if you feel concerned by the extensive coverage on this issue. Our bank has become subject to speculation. Ongoing rumours are causing significant swings in our stock price.
It is our task now to prevent distorted perception from further interrupting our daily business. Trust is the foundation of banking. Some forces in the markets are currently trying to damage this trust.
Deutsche Bank has strong fundamentals. Let me mention some of the most important facts at this point:
1. We fulfil all current capital requirements and our restructuring is well on track. We completed the disposal of the British insurer Abbey Life this week and the sale of our stake in the Chinese Hua Xia Bank will be finalised soon. This will further improve our capital ratio.
2. We have significantly decreased our market and credit risk in recent years. At no point in the last two decades has the balance sheet of Deutsche Bank been as stable as it is today.
3. Despite low interest rates and a difficult environment we posted a pre-tax profit of about 1 billion euros in the first half of 2016. Before extraordinary items like restructuring costs, we earned about 1.7 billion euros. This demonstrates the operating strength of Deutsche Bank.
4. In a situation like this, the most important factor is our liquidity reserves. Currently they still amount to more than 215 billion euros. This is an extremely comfortable buffer. This is clear proof of how conservatively we have planned. This is acknowledged by numerous banking analysts.
There is therefore no basis for this speculation. Nor can uncertainty about the outcome of our litigation cases in the US explain this pressure on our stock price, if we take the settlements of our peers as a benchmark.
You have all done a tremendous job over the past few days. You are the ones who are in constant contact with our clients and making it clear how Deutsche Bank is really doing. You are Deutsche Bank – that is impressively clear. All of us in the Management Board highly appreciate it.
You will hear back from me soon. Please keep working as you have been doing so far. We are and we remain a strong Deutsche Bank.
And here, for the new generation of "traders", is Dick Fuld's famous "squeeze the shorts" speech: