Deutsche Bank hands out bonus letters Wednesday, down 20% on year - sources

FRANKFURT, March 4 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank staff on Wednesday are to receive letters with their bonuses for 2019, a pool that is down 20% from a year earlier, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Employees had been expecting smaller bonuses after the bank plunged to a bigger-than-expected loss of 5.7 billion euros ($6.36 billion) last year, its fifth in a row, as the cost of its latest turnaround attempt hit earnings.

In January, the bank announced that management board members had decided to halve their own bonuses.

The 20% reduction from 1.9 billion euros for 2018 is partly due to a smaller number of employees after downsizing.

The decline in bonuses will be bigger for some individuals, the people said.

Management has defended its bonus policy as necessary to attract and retain staff.

“We must remain attractive for staff who are considering whether to join Deutsche Bank,” Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said in January.

The bank declined to comment.

Handelsblatt first reported the distribution of letters earlier on Wednesday.

$1 = 0.8965 euros Reporting by Patricia Uhlig Writing by Tom Sims Editing by Michelle Martin