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City traders were left in tears as dozens reportedly cleared their desks at Deutsche Bank’s offices on Monday morning, leaving the office for the last time after the bank slashed thousands of jobs.
One employee told Yahoo Finance UK traders reacted “very badly” as their worst fears of job losses were confirmed, while several men were seen carrying cardboard boxes and plastic bags of possessions out of their London offices.
Much of the workforce was said to be in a bleak mood at the German bank after the announcement of 18,000 looming job losses and the closure of its equity trading division.
The company is understood to have begun making staff redundant today in a first wave of the cull, which could take up to three years.
‘Everyone is a bit worried’
One contractor said the departure on Friday of Garth Ritchie, Deutsche Bank’s president and head of its corporate and investment division, had been like seeing “the first person off the Titanic.”
Another staff member said “everyone is a bit worried” in London, home of the bank’s biggest trading operation with 8,000 employees.
Most workers were tight-lipped as they filed out of the office for cigarette and coffee breaks. The small army of TV film crews, photographers and reporters gathered outside met a wall of silence, with staff reportedly told not to speak to the media.
But several employees said the writing had been on the wall for the bank, whose share price has slumped and market share in equities has fallen from 6% to 3.5%.
The bank would not confirm to Yahoo Finance UK how many workers in the capital were affected, but said it “regretted” the impact on staff as it focused resources on “where clients need us most.”
‘Cardboard boxes and pizzas for staff’
One source claimed they had seen a van full of cardboard boxes arrive early at the back entrance to the company’s Great Winchester Street office this morning near Liverpool Street station.
Dozens of pizza boxes were delivered at lunchtime, with reports up to 700 boxes had been ordered on a grim day for staff morale. Several passing City workers from other companies even stopped to look for other signs of the grim news at the office entrance.
One employee having a cigarette outside the office said he feared his own job could be on the line in the coming days.
He said: “The traders have been asked to go – I sit with them. About 20 or 25 are already gone. People reacted very badly; people are crying.”
He told how employees packed up their belongings and said goodbye to colleagues this morning, with staff digesting the bad news in “lots of meetings” for those affected.
‘Not everyone’s earning hundreds of millions’
A contractor leaving the office said his team was unaffected so far, but also feared for the future: “Everyone’s a bit worried. They are going to have to make deep cuts to get those numbers [of 18,000 job losses].”
A worker at another large City firm nearby said there would be “turmoil” for staff, comparing it to his own experiences witnessing large-scale job losses while working for the Co-op bank several years ago.
Another contractor said: “Banking is not like it used to be. People have an image of banking, but not everyone’s earning hundreds of millions.
“Everyone knows the market is changing, and the banks are not making as much as in the past. And the whole City’s been devastated since Brexit.
“London, New York and Tokyo I’d expect to be hit as it’s where most of the trading is. But people were braced for it.”
Another employee in a different division said the cuts were “sad” but widely expected and “drastically needed” because of the challenges facing the bank, calling the mood “sombre but professional.”
Deutsche Bank still a ‘significant presence’ in London
A spokesman for Deutsche Bank told Yahoo Finance UK the company would retain a “significant presence” in London, where it has traded since 1873.
He said: “We want to make the bank leaner and stronger so we can offer a better service to our clients. We have decided to focus our resources on businesses where clients need us most.
“Deutsche Bank will remain an international bank. That’s what our clients need. We regret that the changes we are making will affect some of our colleagues and we will do everything we can to support them.”