FRANKFURT, March 5 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank does not need to change its universal banking model dramatically, but faces pressure to cut costs like the rest of the banking sector, Co-CEO Juergen Fitschen said on Thursday.
Germany’s largest bank is carrying out a strategic review which is expected to see it trim overheads and sharpen its focus on profitable business niches. Some activities under its current strategy of providing a broad spectrum of financial services globally may be shed.
“We have a strong tendency to continue to support the universal banking model,” Fitschen told a financial conference. “I don’t think that you have to expect that we must make dramatic changes.”
The bank has promised to reveal its plans in the second quarter this year.
“You have to cut costs. There the needs are great and we will face the consequences for the next few years,” he said, referring to the financial sector.
Fitschen said he was concerned U.S. regulators would impose additional capital requirements on internationally active banks such as Deutsche, which could force it to trim its balance sheet or raise billions of euros in capital to fortify its leverage ratio.
He said using the leverage ratio as a measure of a bank’s robustness was disadvantageous to Deutsche which, like other European banks, keeps most of the loans it generates on its balance sheet instead of selling them off, as U.S. banks do.
“We’d like to have clarity on this issue quickly,” Fitschen said, urging European regulators to stand their ground in negotiations over international standards.
Fitschen said Deutsche was working to close the book on a series of investigations that threaten it with billions of euros in fines and settlements. The bank has paid 7 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in fines and settlements since 2012.
“We’re seeking to get this behind us as soon as possible. The costs are manageable,” he said.
Fitschen said he was envious of the profitability U.S. banks, the biggest of which are rivals in the global market for financial services and investment banking.
“I’m a little bit jealous that our colleagues in America can earn so much money. I sure wish we could do that,” he said.
Wall Street rival JP Morgan earned $22 billion in net profit in 2014, more than 10 times more than Deutsche’s 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion). ($1 = 0.9051 euros) (Reporting by Thomas Atkins; editing by David Clarke)