March 2, 2016 / 10:10 AM / 2 years ago

Deutsche Bank CEO aims for universal bank with German roots

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) is firmly focused on being a top international corporate and capital markets player with strong roots in Germany, its Chief Executive John Cryan said on Wednesday.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive John Cryan attends a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

“We are a universal bank,” said Cryan, who has been criticized for not making his strategy clear since taking over the running of Germany’s largest bank last year.

The British executive said Deutsche Bank has a strategy, it just needed to execute it more efficiently and tap into its long tradition of serving its clients, particularly German firms.

“Our core business will be international banking, international capital markets, rooted in Germany,” Cryan said.

“It feels on the inside that our absolute core business – the backbone of Deutsche Bank - is GTB, global transaction banking - this is not solely focused on Germany,” he added.

The GTB business helps German companies import and export, manages their cash and credit lines and forms the basis of the lender’s currency trading prowess, where Deutsche Bank settles about 15 percent of all transactions worldwide, Cryan said.

Deutsche Bank was also strengthening its asset management business and continued to see retail as critical.

Since taking the helm last year, Cryan has been working to refocus the bank and settle a slew of legal and regulatory troubles that have cost it billions of euros in recent years.

But his open and public airing of the bank’s problems - from its corporate culture to antiquated IT systems - has drawn criticism from bank staff and investors.

Cryan acknowledged that Deutsche Bank’s recent share price decline and movement in credit default swap spreads had weighed on staff morale, but stressed the bank’s strengths, even brandishing a smartphone with a new banking app above his head for the audience to see.

“I promise, this app will not disappoint you,” he said.

Cryan also explained Deutsche Bank has been making progress on tackling legacy regulatory and legal problems, thanks to its cooperation with regulators.

“I am still very confident that by the middle or the third quarter of this year, the main ones – you can never promise it – but hopefully they’re behind us,” he said.

Additonal reporting by Kathrin Jones, Andreas Kroener and John O'Donnell; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Alexander Smith

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