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February 1, 2013

Deutsche Bank’s Lonely Fight With the Fed

It was supposed to be an uneventful conference call for senior executives at Deutsche Bank, one of Europe’s largest lenders. But a nerve was clearly struck as the executives took questions from analysts on Thursday.

“The source of the provocation? A set of new rules proposed in December by the Federal Reserve, a primary bank regulator in the United States. The regulations aim to make sure that the American operations of foreign banks have the financial strength to absorb losses. Deutsche Bank executives, however, feel the rules are unnecessarily restrictive – and spent part of the call complaining about them.

Deutsche Bank’s chief financial officer, Stefan Krause, said the regulations “are really not very helpful in terms of helping global financial markets to properly work.” Because of the flaws he perceives in the rules, Mr. Krause said he was confident they would be revised. However, if the Fed institutes tough rules for foreign banks, he said “retribution” by European regulators was possible.”

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Deutsche Bank may find few sympathizers, however.

One reason is that it revamped its American operations last year, a move that led analysts to deduce that it was trying to skirt United States regulations.

“That reorganization was a slap in the face to the Fed, the regulators and the U.S. taxpayers,” said Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a lobbying group that supports robust financial regulation.”

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Read full New York Times article here

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