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Deutsche Bank chief warns against labelling bankers immoral

AFP · 27 May 2010, 17:58

Published: 27 May 2010 17:58 GMT+02:00

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"Banks and morals are often considered contradictory. I find this trend dangerous," Deutsche Bank chairman Josef Ackermann told shareholders at the bank's general assembly.

Deutsche Bank and its boss have been targeted several times by German politicians since the global financial crisis took a turn for the worse in 2008 and now again amid the eurozone's debt crisis.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said recently: "A man like the boss of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann ... feels that profits of 25 percent are appropriate.

"No productive enterprise can reach that. We must conclude therefore that the financial market is focused on itself instead of accomplishing its mission" of providing finance to the larger economy, Schäuble said.

Ackermann responded Thursday by saying: "We cannot prosper in a parallel universe. We must serve the entire population."

Story continues below…

The Deutsche Bank chief stressed meanwhile that banks best serve client's interests if the banks are competitive on an international level, which often involves a focus on investment bank activities.

Investment banking, as opposed to traditional lending and deposit services for customers, is widely believed to involve much higher risks which came home to roost when US investment banking giant Lehmans collapsed in 2008, sparking the global crisis.

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Your comments about this article

19:26 May 27, 2010 by William Thirteen
"first they came for the bankers..." etc...
21:07 May 27, 2010 by BnB
Banks have played a central role in the financial crisis in Europe by recklessly lending their savers' money to be used to buy property and government bonds in other countries. I recently wrote to Deutsche Bank to find out if the money I have deposited with them was used to buy Greek government bonds or Irish bank bonds, but I did not get a clear answer. I am now seriously thinking of getting a fire-proof time-locked safe for my money to prevent it from being misused by the banks.

Bankers are probably no more immoral than other business leaders but they do more immoral things because they can get away with it because of the influence they have with powerful people.

A little over a year ago Chancellor Angela Merkel held a party in her office at taxpayers expense for Mr Ackermann for his 60th birthday. Among the thirty or so guests were some of the top people in the Axel Springer group which publishes newspapers Bild, BZ and Die Welt, and in which Deutsche Bank owns 8.35% of the shares. Bild has been at the forefront of the recent anti-Greek campaign which has conveniently had the effect of diverting attention away from the role of the banks in the Greek financial crisis.
15:44 May 28, 2010 by hanskarl
He is correct that they shouldn't be called immoral. Amoral would be a better fit.
17:14 May 28, 2010 by cblanquer
Herr Josef Ackermann should not be preaching about morale.

He faced already more trials than most of the people he is critisizing and, as of Der Spiegel some years ago, there were some infamous trade between DB with an Afrikan dictator that demonstrate that business and morale do not marry easily.
18:27 May 30, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I wouldn't call these bankers immoral. I would call them sociopathic criminals.
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