Commerzbank posts €4.54 billion in losses for 2009

Germany's second largest bank, Commerzbank, on Tuesday reported sharp losses for the fourth quarter and all of 2009, but still voiced cautious optimism for this year.

Commerzbank posts €4.54 billion in losses for 2009
Photo: DPA

Partially state-owned Commerzbank posted a quarterly net loss of €1.86 billion and an annual loss of €4.54 billion.

The quarterly loss, which the bank said was the result of its devaluation of risky assets, was much larger than an average analyst forecast loss of €1.17 billion compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.

“This is not satisfying, but is attributable to two key factors,” the statement quoted bank chairman Martin Blessing as saying. “The result reflects the effects of the ongoing economic and financial market crisis – and the crisis is not yet over, although the start of 2010 has been promising with respect to our operating performance.”

The full-year result included the nearly-completed financial integration of Dresdner Bank, which forced Commerzbank to book €1.9 billion in costs.

On Monday, the bank had published its fourth quarter operating result, which showed a loss of €1.6 billion that was also attributed to asset writedowns.

For all of 2009, the operating loss climbed to €2.3 billion.

The bank said it expected to post an operating profit this year but warned that on the net level, the bank “will only be in the black if the development of the economy and the financial markets will be very positive.”

This year would see “a considerable improvement in customer-focused business,” Blessing added.

Commerzbank carried out a recapitalisation last year with German government aid in the amount of €18.2 billion that left the state with a stake of 25 percent in the bank.

It said Tuesday however that “the total impact of the financial market crisis was better than expectations at the beginning of the past year.”

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Germany’s Commerzbank to cut 10,000 jobs and close 340 branches

Germany's second-largest lender Commerzbank said Thursday it will cut 10,000 jobs and close 340 branches by 2024 as it grapples with a switch to online banking and cashless payment options.

Germany's Commerzbank to cut 10,000 jobs and close 340 branches

The cuts will affect one in three jobs in Germany, the Frankfurt-based lender said in a statement.

“As part of a wide-ranging digitalisation, the bank will substantially reduce its branch network from the current level of 790 to 450,” it said.

“Compared to the figures expected for 2020, costs will be reduced by €1.4 billion or around 20 percent by 2024.”

Like its crosstown rival Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank had already announced thousands of job cuts as it struggles to adapt to a reduced need for bricks-and-mortar branches.

The troubled lender had already announced 2,900 job losses over the course of 2020 and said in December it was booking €610 million in additional provisions to finance the cuts.

It was not clear whether these job cuts were included in Thursday's figure.

The lender posted a €69 million net loss in the third quarter of 2020, during which it closed 200 branches.

READ ALSO: Germany's Commerzbank to slash 4,300 jobs

At the end of September, it had 39,600 employees.

Commerzbank said it would likely end the year with a net loss for the first time since 2009.

The task of getting the bank back on track will fall to its new boss from the start of 2021, Manfred Knof, a defector from Deutsche Bank.

The proposed cuts will be discussed at a supervisory board meeting in February, it said.

Commerzbank “intends to focus and digitalise its business model, considerably reduce costs in all areas, and significantly increase its profitability by 2024,” it said.