S&P downgrades Commerzbank’s credit rating

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank

The rating agency warns of a significant deterioration in results.

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt The rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has given it a thumbs-up because of the economic impact of the corona crisis at Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and other German financial institutions. At Commerzbank, S&P downgraded the credit rating by one grade to “BBB +”, the outlook remains “negative”, as the credit rating officers announced on Thursday.

At Deutsche Bank, S&P confirmed the rating of the creditworthiness with “BBB +”, but lowered the outlook to “negative” from “stable”. While the creditworthiness guards doubt that Commerzbank can implement its new strategy “Commerzbank 5.0”, including the planned sale of the Polish subsidiary mBank as planned, they see the restructuring of Deutsche Bank basically on track. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

With “BBB +” the credit ratings of the two largest German private banks are still three levels above the junk level. A negative outlook means that the credit rating is in danger of being lowered.

S&P warns that even if the economy begins to recover in the third quarter, all banks will see a significant deterioration in results, credit quality and, in some cases, capital resources. The risks that the economy will recover later and the situation will worsen are considerable.

At the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe Hessen-Thüringen, which includes Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba), S&P confirmed the credit rating with “A”, but lowered the outlook to “negative” from “stable” due to the corona crisis.

At the leasing provider Grenke The rating with “BBB +” also remained stable, here too the outlook was reduced to “negative” from “stable”. At Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (pbb), S&P left both the credit rating “A-” and the outlook “negative”.

More: False incentives, fraud, debts – the side effects of the corona crisis.


Thousands of consumers apply for credit deferrals


The savings banks alone have applied for more than 80,000 customers to defer their payments.

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt Thousands of consumers have applied for credit to be deferred in the Corona crisis. According to the Sparkassen- und Giroverband (DSGV), the savings banks alone have so far suspended interest and principal payments from 80,000 borrowers. Since April 1, banks who have been in need because of the crisis have had to pay interest, redemption or repayment of consumer and real estate loans for three months. The savings banks had introduced a goodwill arrangement a few days beforehand.

In the Commerzbank until April 6, 1.5 percent of the total consumer credit portfolio was deferred. The institute approves all applications for deferrals if they are made due to the corona crisis. Overall, the money house expects 10 to 20 percent of applications based on the total amount of consumer loans. According to their association BVR, the Volks- und Raiffeisenbank should also have received their first applications.

However, consumer defenders believe that deferral alone will not be enough. “Consumers also need a financial aid package that actually compensates for the losses they suffered as a result of the corona pandemic,” the Federal Association of Consumer Centers (vzbv) demands in a statement. Otherwise, the financial problems would resume after the deferral.

The bank customer must demonstrate that he has lost revenue due to the crisis and is therefore in an emergency, for example his maintenance is at risk. The deferral applies from April 1 to the end of June for consumer loans that were concluded before March 15.

According to consumer protection experts, the period until the end of June will still suffice. “It is foreseeable that consumers will continue to suffer from the pandemic and its consequences for a long time. They should therefore be protected longer than previously decided, ”warned the vzbv.

More: After the corona crisis, there will be tough distribution struggles. If it is not fair, the market economy loses the trust of its citizens, says Handelsblatt correspondent Martin Greive.


Customers remain loyal – almost no cash outflows in March

Frankfurt While investors in Europe fled from investment funds with the outbreak of the corona crisis, Dekabank’s business has remained almost stable. Georg Stocker, the new chief executive of the savings bank fund service provider, said on Tuesday: “Looking at sales shows that customers have reacted very prudently so far.” In March there were almost no net outflows overall, Stocker continued. This applies to both private and institutional investors.

This means that Deka is in a much better position than other asset managers. According to an analysis by the rating agency Morningstar, funds in Europe have recently suffered violent outflows. According to the estimate, based on around 90 percent of all funds offered in Europe, investors sold shares for a good EUR 200 billion net in the crisis month of March.

The final numbers will be even higher. The Morningstar estimate does not include institutional business with large investors.

By contrast, Deka is supported by the business with securities savings plans. In the first twelve weeks of this year, it sold more than 250,000 savings plans. “The now well over five million savings plans are a clearly stabilizing factor for our portfolio,” said Stocker.

The former head of Sparkassenvertrieb, who has been a member of the Deka Executive Board for a long time, moved to the top of the company at the beginning of the year, succeeding Michael Rüdiger. Stocker emphasized that Deka had come through the crisis properly so far. “We are well prepared for any further aggravation of the situation.”

Like other financial institutions, Deka did not want to make a forecast for 2020. The economic consequences of the corona virus are not yet foreseeable, said the Deka boss. Deka is one of the largest asset managers in Germany. At the end of 2019, it was managing a good 310 billion euros. The recent stock market turmoil has reduced the value by around 25 billion euros.

Deka boss defends certificate strategy

Last year, the fund company, which belongs to around 380 German savings banks, earned slightly less than in 2018. The so-called economic result fell from 452 million euros to 434 million euros. The result was burdened by provisions for pensions. The economic result differs in some items from classic earnings indicators, for example in certain interest rate transactions.

In 2019, Deka raised a net 18 billion euros, significantly more than in the previous year. A good 11 billion euros of this came from private customers. They invested five billion euros in certificates and six billion euros in funds. Deka has only been issuing certificates for a few years, but is now the market leader in Germany according to the derivatives association DDV.

Consumer advocates repeatedly warn of risks of loss through certificates and sometimes consider the products to be too complicated. Stocker defended Deka’s approach: According to him, a small part of the certificates due in 2020 are currently in the red. It is about certificates with a volume of 350 million euros, which corresponds to 2.5 percent of the total volume of certificates of 14 billion euros. “The extent to which the nominal amount will still be repaid depends on how the market develops until the due date.”

A large part of the Deka certificates are interest-oriented and not related to the stock market, Stocker explained. Many share certificates, in turn, would have buffers and would run even longer. The certificates were deliberately chosen “so that extreme situations like now have a negative development”.

Dekabank expects the gross domestic product to decline by almost five percent in the current year. A plus is expected for the coming year. Deka chief economist Ulrich Kater said that if this happened, one would be confident that the Dax achieve 11,500 points again next year. The leading German index fell by a good 30 percent within six weeks. It fell below 8500 points at times, but has since recovered somewhat.

The corona crisis also has an impact on the desired consolidation of the top public law institutes: It is on hold for an indefinite period, as savings bank president Helmut Schleweis said just under three weeks ago. He has in mind that ultimately there is only one central institute for the savings banks. The starting point should be a possible merger between Deka and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, which is majority owned by savings banks.

The talks between the two Frankfurt institutes only started shortly after the beginning of the year. However, resistance from various sides within the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe had become clear. There are currently four large Landesbanken: in addition to Helaba, LBBW in Stuttgart, BayernLB in Munich and NordLB in Hanover.

More: Private investors are particularly affected by breakdown series on trading platforms.




Like other financial institutions, the Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen is suspending the dividend payment for the time being.

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt An increasing number of banks are following the recommendation of the supervisory authorities and suspend distributions to their owners. The Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba) is not paying a dividend for the time being. A Helaba spokesman said on request that the bank’s governing bodies would put off the decision until the fourth quarter of this year.

Just over a week ago, Helaba had said it was planning a distribution. It was a sum of 90 million euros. The Landesbank is majority owned by the savings banks in Hesse and Thuringia, and the two federal states are also responsible.


BayernLB is sticking to the realignment despite Corona

Frankfurt BayernLB intends to continue its strategic realignment despite the corona crisis. “We remain completely convinced of this,” said CEO Stephan Winkelmeier on Friday when presenting the balance sheet for the past financial year.

Shortly before Weihachten 2019, Winkelmeier presented a multi-year plan up to 2024, the core of which is the expansion of the DKB online bank, the real estate and the joint business with the savings banks. To this end, BayernLB, which has so far largely operated as a universal bank, is to become a special bank with a focus on future issues and digitalization. The multi-year plan entitled “Zukunftsbank BayernLB” is the first major project that Winkelmann tackled after taking office last summer.

Even if the goals remain the same, the bank’s priorities have shifted since the turn of the year. “We will control the conversion appropriately in order to be close to the customers,” emphasized Winkelmeier. The corona crisis, for example, has brought back to the fore a sector within the bank that has played a minor role in future plans: the corporate division

As the house bank of the Free State of Bavaria, the Landesbank has a particularly important position these days: Together with the savings banks in the state, it should ensure that funds from the KfW Bankengruppe and the LfA Förderbank Bayern reach the companies.

To date, more than 300 million euros have been passed on to the Landesbank’s accounts to affected companies. The Landesbank is expecting a total of 10,000 applications. For this reason, the team responsible for funding was strengthened by employees from other areas. In the multi-year plan up to 2024, however, the merger of the corporate customer business with the financial market business is still planned. The corona crisis is not to change anything, it said on Friday.

Financial market business makes loss

Both areas have long been among the low-profit parts of the bank – nothing has changed in the past year. The corporate customer business, which officially bears the name Corporates & Mittelstand, only made a small profit of 13 million euros, after there were still 161 million euros in 2018. High reversals of loan loss provisions led to the significant decline.

The financial market business even slipped into the red. After a slight pre-tax result of twelve million euros, this time there was a loss of 21 million euros. Above all, negative valuation effects for emissions and derivatives led to the minus.

The end of the financial market business in its previous form was already sealed at the end of last year. It was then announced that a total of 400 jobs were to be cut, of which around a third were directly in the capital market business and two thirds in the back office areas.

For BayernLB, this meant job cuts of five percent. Meanwhile, 150 employees have already left the house, it was said on Friday. The remaining 250 employees are expected to follow in the near future. However, it should not stop there. “Another reduction will come. We will announce this later in the year, ”announced bank manager Winkelmeier.

It has been clear for a long time that the major international banks, particularly from the USA, are increasingly taking over the financial market business. Smaller houses like BayernLB hardly have the opportunity to make sustainable profits. Especially since the IT costs in this segment are very high.

Two profit drivers remain

On the other hand, the Landesbank still has two profit drivers with its real estate and association business with the savings banks and especially with the online bank DKB. The combined real estate and network area in particular grew in the past year. With a pre-tax profit of EUR 298 million, it contributed more than 45 percent to the overall result of EUR 653 million.

The reason for this is simple: New business in the real estate sector was far from any mood of crisis last year. That should have been different since the outbreak of the corona crisis. Nevertheless, BayernLB boss Winkelmeier does not expect any negative effects, for example for retail space, from the effect that customers have only been able to make extensive purchases via the Internet in recent weeks. “There was a trend towards online shopping before,” said Winkelmeier.

BayernLB’s biggest profit maker, however, remains the DKB online bank – even if it earned a little less with a pre-tax profit of EUR 301 million than in 2018. It is only slightly above the real estate and network segment with the savings banks.

The Berlin online bank, the leader in the German market ING number two, their customer base increased by 300,000 to 4.3 million last year. “The DKB remains our growth engine and an indispensable part of BayernLB”, Winkelmeier made clear on Friday.

There have always been rumors in the past that the high-growth online bank could be sold or possibly brought to the stock exchange. Winkelmeier had already given a clear rejection when he made his first public appearance as head of the Landesbank last summer. Instead, he held on to the pre-Christmas planning on Friday. Thereafter, the number of DKB customers is expected to grow to eight million by 2024.

No profit forecast

At the current level, this would almost double. Nevertheless, Stephan Winkelmeier remains optimistic: the past few weeks, when many people at home had time to check their personal financial products, have brought a clear plus.

In addition, there should be new payment transaction solutions for private customers as well as an enlarged product range. The range of financing solutions is to be expanded for business customers who come from the DKB primarily from the areas of housing, renewable energies, agriculture and nutrition as well as the liberal professions.

This time, the CEO did not dare to make a profit forecast for the current year, which at BayernLB is traditionally in the mid three-digit million range in normal times. “We expect the deepest recession since World War II, so it would be presumptuous to give an outlook.” Instead, he alluded to the bank’s rescue of government billions in times of the financial crisis. “We are very aware of our responsibility as a formerly saved institute in these times.”

More: What consumers can do if real estate financing shakes through Corona.


Bitter for consumers: new law allows vouchers instead of reimbursements *** BILDplus content ***

Bitter for consumers: new law allows vouchers instead of refunds

Because of Corona, concerts, sporting events such as the Bundesliga and trips have been canceled. So far a clear case: The money must be refunded to fans and vacationers without deductions.

Now a new law stipulates that consumers can be vouched for with vouchers. The law was approved in the federal cabinet on Thursday and is expected to enter into force shortly.

BILD lists in detail which specific regulations for tickets and travel will soon apply and what else is in the draft law.


Overseers postpone stress test for smaller banks by one year

Frankfurt am Main financial district

Frankfurt The Bundesbank and the financial regulator Bafin postpone their planned stress test of smaller financial houses by one year due to the virus crisis. The institutes that are not directly monitored by the European Central Bank (ECB) would only be subjected to the debit check in 2022 instead of 2021 as previously planned, the Bafin announced on Thursday.

The reason is the “challenges that the corona virus and the pandemic will bring with it this year,” explained the supervisors. The trial run planned for autumn this year will also be postponed by one year. The European Banking Authority Eba had already postponed its major European bank stress test, which was originally scheduled for this year, to 2021.

In their last stress test last year, Bafin and the Bundesbank checked around 1,400 savings banks, Volksbanks and other small institutions. One of the main results of the test was that persistently low interest rates on financial institutions are becoming increasingly burdensome given that profitability is already weak. The virus pandemic should now put additional pressure on the institutes.

Bank guards have already given financial institutions numerous reliefs during the corona crisis so that they can keep lending to the economy going. For example, the capital requirements for financial institutions were relaxed and the introduction of stricter capital requirements (Basel III) that had already been adopted was postponed by a year.

More: Financial supervision decides comprehensive relief for banks


The number of applications for aid loans is increasing at a rapid pace

Savings banks

More and more companies are turning to the German savings banks to obtain an aid loan from the KfW state bank.

(Photo: mauritius images / Marijan Murat / imageBROKER)

Frankfurt The German savings banks have received 4,850 applications for a KfW aid loan to deal with the corona crisis nationwide. The Sparkassenverband Rheinland-Pfalz named this number on Tuesday. It is the status of Monday evening, you have the information from the IT service provider Finanz-Informatik.

According to association manager Roman Frank, almost 500 applications have been received by the savings banks in Rhineland-Palatinate. The savings banks had already approved 130 of these and passed them on to the KfW state bank. He expects a significant increase in applications in the next few days and weeks.

It is already clear that companies have an enormous interest in KfW’s corona loans. The state bank assumes up to 90 percent of the risk. Nevertheless, the respective house bank of a company has to check the loan application in full as usual.

It therefore takes some time for the inquiries to reach KfW. The state bank had recently stated that it had received exactly 742 applications through the company’s house banks. The state bank itself is preparing for 20,000 to 100,000 applications, as CEO Günther Bräunig recently told Handelsblatt.

At the same time, some of the companies are threatening to go empty-handed. Sparkasse President Helmut Schleweis warned against this in an interview with the Handelsblatt: “Some companies will not be able to help with the existing support programs.” As part of the loan program of the state development bank KfW, only companies will get a loan that is expected to be repaid within five years. “This is currently not the case for many companies from industries that are suffering particularly badly from the corona crisis.”

The difficulties of many companies will also have a significant impact on the savings banks as lenders. Beate Läsch-Weber, President of the Rhineland-Palatinate Sparkassenverband, fears long-term interest rates and additional burdens if companies can no longer service their loans.

“There are also risks that cannot yet be assessed due to possible credit defaults in companies, provided that they are not covered by federal or state liability exemptions,” said Läsch-Weber. Nobody can estimate the actual economic effects of Corona exactly at this point in time, “but there are a lot of things to come”.

More: The most important information about the KfW special loan program


Banks cannot “throw commercial care overboard”

Loan agreement

The German banking industry is critical of demands for a relaxed check of loan applications due to the corona crisis.

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt / Berlin The German banking industry is opposed to calls for a lax check of loan applications in the current crisis.

Banks and savings banks “could not throw regulatory requirements or their commercial diligence overboard,” stressed the President of the Federal Association of German Volksbanks and Raiffeisen Banks (BVR), Marija Kolak, in her role as this year’s leader of the German banking industry on Tuesday. “This would be counterproductive and is of no use to companies or citizens. It would not contribute to financial market stability either. “

Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously asked the house banks not to place excessive demands on small business loans in the corona crisis. Every bank employee should know “that this is now a great, joint, national effort that is necessary where everyone has to leave a little bit of a fifth,” said the Vice Chancellor in Munich on Tuesday. The KfW development bank will ensure that commercial banks, savings banks and others can continue to make money available to their traditional customers.

“Banks and savings banks in Germany are currently performing a historically incomparable effort to help companies lend,” assured Kolak. “The federal government is required to support companies with measures other than granting loans that they will have to repay later.

The economy needs even more backing and more extensive tax breaks. ”

More: As active crisis managers, Scholz and Söder are increasing their popularity ratings.


The New Corona Dictatorship – Morning Briefing

Good morning dear readers,

for a few hours, since midnight Hungary a democratic zombie state of the European Union. With Corona, everything can be justified these days, including the introduction of one autocracy, as you can see from the example of Budapest. Prime minister Viktor Orbán Parliament had previously passed an emergency law with the vast majority of its Fidesz party and other right-wing groups. Now neo-orbanism includes governing by decree and criminal law for the critical journalism, everything indefinitely.

The spreading of “false and twisted news”, from which the government feels hindered, is now subject to severe punishment. So with supposed health care, freedom of expression is abolished, according to a method that Montesquieu has described: “A government only has to leave indefinite what is treachery and it becomes despotism.” The EU Commission has only one objection against this authorization law Urgent procedure before the European Court of Justice.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski plans to hold the May presidential election despite the pandemic of Corona.


The next fall is in Poland, another former communist satellite state. The ultra-conservative clique of power is holding on there Jaroslaw Kaczynski despite corona restrictions on presidential election on 10th of May firmly – and finally deformed the electoral law in a rush procedure. Now older citizens over the age of 60 and everyone who is in quarantine may only use Postal vote choose. It is actually not permitted to change the electoral law in the six months before the ballot. Incidentally, the government party’s notables PiS to be admired continuously on public television, which is in fact the same – the others have to campaign in their home office.

The policies of the Eastern European autocrats are a lot worse than the problem of Corona itself. Apparently, the virus catastrophe also confuses the sociologist’s picture of the paradigm shift Andreas Reckwitz has recently developed. He saw, shortly before the “outbreak”, a “regulative” in the future “Embedding liberalism” arise in response to an over-dynamic, excessive liberalism, who in turn – after the Reagan-Thatcher incision – followed the old “social corporatism”. Liberal is no longer in Hungary and Poland, but a lot is corporateist.

Anyone looking at protection from Covid-19 Virologists holds, has a selection problem. Take, for example, the permanent topic Mouthguard. Should he do it with the World Health Organization WHO keep their representatives Mike Ryan stresses that there is no specific evidence of benefit from wearing masks in general? On the contrary, improper use can even cause damage. Or should you prefer the German podcast luminaries Christian Drosten and Alexander Kekulé follow who absolutely recommend mouth protection? If you ask three scientists, you get four opinions, including on the question of all questions – which does not prevent Jena and Austria from prescribing facial protection when shopping.

As uncertain as the virologists are in detail, it is as certain Supply melee around the protective material. There is a “wild west mentality” on the market, revealed Markus Söder, first health defender in Bavaria and currently “role model” in Germany. He calls for “national emergency plans” for the procurement and even organized a weekly ration of one million protective masks from Siemens; BMW now produces 10,000 masks a day. But much more is needed throughout Germany: 115 million simple pieces, almost 47 million of the higher and 7.5 million of the highest quality level. That NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet wearing a mask over your mouth, but not over your nose, is one of the fun topics on the net. Söder counters Laschet’s wish for an early exit from the corona shutdown with a date: April 19. This is how long the new going-out limits apply in Bavaria, as in Saarland.

The five have the strength of the poison at business location D “Economics” examined in a special report. Since there is nothing certain about the virus spread and the emerging health problems, the inclined reader has to decide between scenarios: minus 2.8 percent after five weeks of contact blocking, minus 5.4 percent after seven weeks. Worst-case calculations of 20 percent (Ifo Institute) keep the economy Volker Wieland for exaggerated: “We are not at war, after which the capital stock would have been bombed afterwards and the workers are at the front.” The front of today is called home office.

It has 800 free evils Filmmakers from Berlin and Brandenburg Caught. You should be involved in two important Hollywood productions that were due to be shot in Germany in 2020. It is a matter of “Matrix 4” and “Uncharted”. Supposedly instructed representatives of the US studios Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures the German colleagues at the studio Babelsberg AGto give everyone notice: “Fire them all.” A Babelsberg subsidiary also acted in this way for the temporary employment contracts, which is why there is now a legal dispute. 90 permanent employees continue to take care of the infrastructure in the hope that Hollywood will return “the day after tomorrow”.

Sparkassen President Helmut Schleweis supports the state’s loan guarantees.

After the republic scraped past the “technical recession” as if by a statistical miracle, the factual recession now no way around. How bad it gets depends on the efficiency of the government’s billion-dollar aid. Sparkasse President Helmut Schleweis expressed concern in the Handelsblatt conversation: “Some companies will not be able to help with the existing support programs.” KfW State Bank loan program Only companies that are expected to get a loan within five years could repay – but this is currently not the case for many companies from sectors such as transport, logistics, tourism and aviation, says Schleweis. The man from the Sparkasse advocates direct grants or credit guarantees of the state.

There is positive news in Italy, where the number of new infections only increased by 4050, the lowest increase since March 17. France in contrast, with 418 deaths in one day, the highest mortality rate. Meanwhile around the world 785,000 cases registered, more than 37,000 people died.

Hope in the fight against Corona brings two US medical companies. So announce Johnson & Johnson to develop a serum that may be available in the first months of 2021. Cooperate with the US government and invest a billion dollars in the fabric. Tests on people are scheduled to start in September, explains the world market leader. Abbott Laboratories again a quick test starts, which takes five minutes and for which you need a portable device the size of a toaster. The innovations for the recovery of mankind rewarded the exchange with striking price gains.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis plans to waive his salary for the next two months.

And then there’s the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakiswho will donate half of his salary to an anti-corona fund over the next two months. That’s what the boss of the Nea Dimokratia also from members of his government and other parties: “We are all equally at risk for our health. But in the fight against it, everyone has to contribute as much as they can Lionel Messi and the other stars of the FC Barcelona. The Argentine turned sharply against reports that were apparently controlled from the club headquarters, according to which the professionals initially opposed the Pay cut would have fought. According to Messi, some in the club tried to “put pressure on us to do something we wanted to do anyway”.

I wish you a successful day when you really do what you want to do. To laugh, we recommend the Loriot sketch “After Work”, the Hebrew version of which all of Israel is currently laughing at. “Hermann”, agitated by his wife “Berta” working in the kitchen, just wants to enjoy the silence in the armchair. Again and again the man with the bulbous nose produces his mantra: “I just want to sit here.” Until he roars at the end – which proves that life is sometimes screamingly funny.

Greetings to you as always

Hans-Jürgen Jakobs
Senior editor

Here you can subscribe to the morning briefing.

Morning briefing: Alexa