Deutsche Bank took out full-page ads in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday, in which the country's biggest lender apologized for (getting caught) engaging in market manipulation and misconduct that has cost the company billions. In the ad, signed by CEO John Cryan on behalf of the bank's top management,the bank said its past conduct "not only cost us money, but also our reputation and trust."
The ad said "we in the management committee and bank leadership as a whole will do everything in our power to keep such cases from happening again."
While Deutsche Bank's transgressions culminated most recently with a December $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its RMBS dealings in the years leading up to the financial crisis, other "misconduct" cases have included rigging Libor, the precious metals market, as well as money-laundering violations involving trades Russia.
As reported last Thursday, Deutsche Bank reported a larger than expected €1.9 billion Q4 loss, driven by ongoing legal settlements costs, declining equity-trading revenue and surging client redemptions from its asset management business. Cryan also offered an extensive apology at the news conference.
Deutsche Bank is in the midst of a wrenching restructuring, cutting costs and shedding riskier assets to meet tougher regulation aimed at preventing another financial crisis. In the latest aftershock from the relentless litigation against the bank, Deutsche Bank reportedly was set to announce layoffs of as much as 17% of staff in its equities unit and reduce fixed-income headcount by as much as 6%, while scrapping 2016 bonuses for as many as 90% of bankers.
Of course, the best gauge of whether Deutsche has "learned its lesson", is to watch its actions in the coming months. With a repeal of the Volcker Rule looking increasingly likely under Donald Trump, the largest German bank may find it difficult not to engage in the same prop trading behavior that got it in serious trouble during the financial crisis.