Deutsche Bank swings to full-year profit after tepid Q4

Deutsche Bank bonuses

Deutsche Bank bonuses

"In view of the progress made in financial year 2018", Deutsche Bank tightened its cost target for 2019 and is expecting adjusted costs to amount to 21.8 billion euros instead of 22 billion euros.

The bank has also become the subject of rampant merger speculation.

However, Deutsche posted a full-year profit of 341 million euros, compared with a net loss of 735 million euros in 2017. "We aim to grow profitability substantially through the current year and beyond", Sewing said.

Sewing took over in April from John Cryan, who left amid dissatisfaction with the slow pace of restructuring. The bank has struggled to cut costs, resolve legal issues with regulators, and refocus on its European and German base rather than compete across the board with Wall Street banks. So far, investors are not convinced.

Commenting on the merger speculation last week, Sewing said his priority was to restore profitability and that a merger was "beyond what I'm now thinking of".

Net revenue at the German lender's corporate and investment banking division decreased by 8 percent year-on-year to 13 billion euros.

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However, time is running out for Deutsche Bank to turn around on its own, making a merger with rival Commerzbank more likely, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday. Those matters involve alleged money laundering through Danske Bank's Estonian branch and suspicions bank employees helped clients launder money through offshore accounts based on the leaked Panama Papers. Deutsche Asset Management saw net annual revenue fall by nearly 14 percent year-on-year to 2.2 billion euros.

Deutsche Bank confirmed last week that it had "received a request from the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees".

The bank says it is "engaged in a productive dialogue with those committees" and that it is "committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations".

Common equity Tier 1 capital was 13.6 percent at the end of 2018, compared with 14 percent three months earlier.

The bank's turnaround might not be advancing quickly enough for some shareholders and the German government, which has said that it wants strong lenders to support the country's firms in their global business. A $7.2 billion US fine in 2017 for its role in the mortgage market crisis was a major blow that spooked clients and concerned regulators.

On Friday, chief administrative officer Karl von Rohr said that "we have always said that we will answer a legally correct inquiry, and if we get a legal inquiry from Congress as an institution we will consequently answer it" but could not answer questions from individual USA lawmakers.

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