Deutsche Bank chief says banks are not immoral
The head of Germany's biggest bank said Thursday it was dangerous to paint banks as immoral institutions that do not contribute to the economy.
"Banks and morals are often considered contradictory. I find this trend dangerous," Deutsche Bank chairman Josef Ackermann told shareholders at the bank's general assembly.
Deutsche Bank and its boss have been targeted several times by German politicians since the global financial crisis took a turn for the worse in 2008 and now again amid the eurozone's debt crisis.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said recently: "A man like the boss of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann ... feels that profits of 25 percent are appropriate.
"No productive enterprise can reach that. We must conclude therefore that the financial market is focused on itself instead of accomplishing its mission" of providing finance to the larger economy, Schaeuble said.
Ackermann responded Thursday by saying: "We cannot prosper in a parallel universe. We must serve the entire population."
The Deutsche Bank chief stressed meanwhile that banks best serve client's interests if the banks are competitive on an international level, which often involves a focus on investment bank activities.
Investment banking, as opposed to traditional lending and deposit services for customers, is widely believed to involve much higher risks which came home to roost when US investment banking giant Lehmans collapsed in 2008, sparking the global crisis.
© 2010 AFP