Deutsche Bank Technically insolvent
Deutsche Bank shares are down 40 percent since the beginning of the year, falling below their price at the time of the 2008 financial crisis. The bank suffered record losses of €6.8 billion in 2015.
With a balance sheet now eclipsing JP Morgan’s, Keiser warned that the bank will sooner or later have to admit to insolvency and say “we need either a huge bailout or we gotta close up shop.”
However, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble dismissed concerns over Germany’s biggest lender, telling Bloomberg he was not worried about its future.
Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan also played down the concerns in a published letter to staff on February 9, describing the bank as “absolutely rock-solid” and “strong”.
“On Monday, we took advantage of this strength to reassure the market of our capacity and commitment to pay coupons to investors who hold our Additional Tier 1 capital,” Cryan wrote. “This type of instrument has been the subject of recent market concern. The market also expressed some concern about the adequacy of our legal provisions but I don’t share that concern. We will almost certainly have to add to our legal provisions this year but this is already accounted for in our financial plan.”
The bank’s contingent convertible (CoCo) bonds also plunged in value this year. CoCo bonds are designed to be converted to equity when the bank gets into trouble. They have no maturity date and come with no promise to investors that they will get their money back.
Coupon payments on the bond are contingent on the bank’s ability to keep its capital above certain thresholds. If the bank does not make a coupon payment, investors cannot call for a default.
Deutsche Bank said last week that they would likely be able to make its coupon payment for 2016, after telling investors last month that it couldn’t make its 2015 payments.
Keiser described the move as a ponzi scheme saying, “You can’t just miss coupon payments. It’s called insolvency.”