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Deutsche Bank-Commerzbank merger could put 30,000 jobs at risk

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Banners of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. Photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

The merger of two massive German lenders — Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank — is being greeted with much fanfare in the markets. However, Frank Bsirske, head of Germany’s powerful Verdi union, has spoken out against the potential tie-up and warned of mass job losses.

“Some 20,000 or more jobs could come under fire,” Bsirske said, adding that safeguarding jobs was a priority for Verdi, and that he expects tense discussions about this at both banks. Verdi is also on the oversight body at Commerzbank, and together both banks have over 130,000 full time staff. 

However, that number now appears to have been revised up: a representative of Verdi told broadcaster n-tv today that 30,000 jobs could be lost in the consolidation.

Bsirske, who sits on the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank, told German newspapers that the banks were not a good fit for each other, and that overlapping their strengths, especially where private and corporate arms were concerned, would mean severe job cuts.  Jan Duscheck, a Verdi labor representative on the Deutsche supervisory board also noted on Sunday that the union was against the merger because of the threat to jobs.

Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg bank, told the BBC that the German government’s “concern about job losses seem to be more than outweighed by this desire to have industrial policy — a deliberate policy to create a bigger domestic bank.” 

The German government, Commerzbank’s biggest stakeholder after rescuing it in 2009 during the financial crisis, has been pressuring the two troubled banks to explore a merger, to consolidate its public lenders. A merger would create Europe’s third- or fourth-largest bank, with a combined market value of around €25bn (£21bn).