BERLIN / FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The German Finance Ministry met regularly with Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) in 2018 for talks on topics such as strategic options (DBKGn.DE), a letter from the German Ministry of Finance Finance as seen by Reuters on Friday.
The letter, written by a Deputy Finance Minister and addressed to a member of the German Parliament in response to questions, dated Jan. 10, reported 23 meetings between the Ministry of Finance and Deutsche Bank officials between May and May. December 2018.
Topics discussed during the meetings included "the strategic options of the institutes and the evaluations of officials of the Ministry of Finance," the letter said.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung first reported on the letter and meetings between Finance Ministry officials and Deutsche Bank executives.
It has long been speculated that Berlin might attempt to create a merger of the two largest German lenders, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank (CBKG.DE).
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz helped fuel this speculation by highlighting the need for a strong German banking sector, a change of tone compared to its predecessor.
The letter also responded to a request for an assessment of a possible merger between Commerzbank (CBKG.DE), 15% owned by the government, and other lenders.
"The government is open to economically viable options," says the letter, noting that operational and strategic issues are the responsibility of leaders.
Joerg Kukies, a Member of Parliament, represented the department at numerous meetings, while Deutsche Bank President and CEO Christian Sewing represented the bank at six meetings.
The president of the bank, Paul Achleitner, attended six other meetings, revealed the list of meetings.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Finance has made no comments in the immediate future. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank declined to comment.
The leaders of the two banks downplayed the idea of a merger, saying they needed to focus on restructuring and improving profitability before any possible reconciliation.
(Report by Holger Hansen and Tom Sims, edited by Alexander Smith and Louise Heavens)