Brexit would cause big problems for German banks: German financial watchdog

Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:57am EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A British vote to leave the European Union would hit large German banks, given their heavy exposure to London, the head of German financial watchdog Bafin said in an interview with German newspaper Tagesspiegel.

Bafin President Felix Hufeld told the newspaper in an article to be published on Monday that he hoped Britons would vote to remain in the European Union.

If not, "the biggest banks would have the biggest problems," the newspaper quoted Hufeld as saying. "They have the most activities in, and with, London," he said.

Hufeld said the European Central Bank planned to closely monitor the situation and the banks themselves had internal groups looking at the possible consequences.

Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE: Quote) and Commerzbank AG (CBKG.DE: Quote) are the German banks with the largest business dealings in Britain.

Britons are due to vote in a June 23 referendum on the country's membership in the EU, a choice with far-reaching consequences for politics, the economy, defense and diplomacy in Britain and elsewhere.

British support for leaving the EU stood at 43 percent in a poll published Saturday by The Sunday Times, marginally ahead of the 42 percent who want to remain part of the bloc.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, told the German newspaper Bild in a separate interview that it could take seven years to revamp Britain's ties to the European Union.

He said each of the then remaining 27 members of the bloc, and the European Parliament, would have to agree to new terms.   Continued...

British Union flags fly in front of the Big Ben clocktower of The Houses of Parliament in central London, Britain February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo