April 22, 2015 / 10:50 AM / 2 years ago

Political pressure mounts on Deutsche Bank over restructuring

File photo of a man walking past the headquarters of Deutsche Postbank in Bonn September 13, 2010. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Files

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) co-chief executives Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen met with German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble late on Monday, sources close to the matter said on Wednesday, ahead of a decision on a major restructuring.

The overhaul, to be announced as early as Friday, will include a sale of Deutsche’s Postbank DPBGn.DE arm and possibly also its own-branded retail network. The shake-up, which would allow the bank to focus on more-profitable investment banking, could cost thousands of jobs.

Berlin is primarily interested in having a robust German bank that can support the country’s commercial interests globally. Germany is the world’s third biggest exporter after China and the United States.

Politicians are keen to see German banking assets remain in German or European hands and to limit job cuts.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the Schaeuble meeting.

Separately, a senior German politician on Wednesday urged Deutsche Bank to protect jobs and preserve Postbank DPBGn.DE as a stand-alone business in any sell-off plan.

“I urgently appeal to those in management and the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank to take no decision that would permanently endanger jobs in individual locations,” Stephan Weil, the premier of the federal state of Lower Saxony, said in a statement.

Weil pointed to building society BHW, owned by Postbank, saying he had met with Deutsche Bank management to express his concerns about the fate of BHW’s 2,400 employees based in Lower Saxony.

“Employees of Postbank and its subsidiaries have been worried about their professional future for quite some time now,” Weil said.

Should Postbank be sold, Postbank and BHW need to be maintained as stand-alone units, he said.

Lower Saxony is a northern German state with a population of 8 million and is home to carmaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE).

Postbank has some 1,100 branches and 14 million clients.

German services union Verdi called on employees at Postbank DPBGn.DE to strike for an indefinite period in a dispute over job guarantees, the union said on Sunday.

Reporting by Matthias Sobolewski in Berlin and Thomas Atkins in Frankfurt; Editing by Jane Merriman

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