Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank: Monopolies Commission warns of systemic risk at merger

According to competition law, a merger of Deutscher Bank and Commerzbank will be less critical, says the head of the monopoly commission of a newspaper. But skepticism about the plans remains - even from the consumer's point of view.

The head of the monopoly commission, Achim Wambach, looks at a possible merger of Deutsche Bank and the Commerzbank hardly competition problems - but a systemic risk. "There are indications that the antitrust authorities would approve the merger, subject to certain conditions," said Wambach, whose commission advises the German government, the "Rheinische Post".

Both banks had announced on Sunday to want to negotiate a possible merger. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his State Secretary, the former Goldman Sachs head of Germany Jörg Kukies, have campaigned for months for strong German banks. In recent weeks, there had been repeated reports that the SPD politicians Scholz and Kukies had pushed Deutsche Bank Bank chief Christian Sewing and Commerzbank chief Martin Zielke to consider a merger - ideally before the European elections in late May.

From a competition law point of view, according to Wambach in the "Rheinische Post", a merger is likely to stand in the way of little at least. "The business areas of the two banks either overlap only slightly or are at least exposed to noticeable competition - even after a possible merger," he is quoted as saying. He rather fears that the new bank could become a systemic risk because of its size. "The merger may create a new threat to the financial world, namely an increase in systemic risk." The financial crisis has made it clear that large banks could not easily be wound up and possibly have to be rescued by the state.

Tens of thousands of jobs could be threatened

The union Ver.di warns of merger for other reasons. In the worst case, the reduction of 30,000 jobs is expected, the union estimates. The shareholder association DSW even forecasts up to 50,000 job cuts. At the end of 2018, the two institutions together had a good 133,000 full-time employees.

Ver.di CEO Frank Bsirske "the sense of merit of this merger at the moment does not light up," as he said the "Stuttgarter Zeitung" and the "Stuttgarter Nachrichten". "Bank and Commerzbank do not complement each other sensibly." It would make more sense from the perspective of Bsirskes, who also belongs to the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank, "a crossover in the international direction".

Even Germany's top consumer advocate, Klaus Müller, warned of the consequences of a merger. "Rising prices and less variety of products can not be the collateral damage of a banking champion," said the head of the Federation of Consumer Organizations (vzbv) of the "Rheinische Post".

Merger of Deutscher Bank and CommerzbankThe unloved mega-wedding

At the stock exchange, Deutsche Bank - after all, Germany's largest financial institution - is currently worth just over 16 billion euros, Commerzbank around nine billion euros. At the top of the world, the two largest listed German banks are no longer playing with it.

To finance a merger with the rival, Deutsche Bank would probably need a billion. In order to get these together, they could, according to insiders, completely separate from their fund subsidiary DWS.


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