Dresdner Bank and Postbank sound each other out with exchange of books
Banking giants Dresdner Bank and Postbank seem set for a merger after granting one another access to financial and customer dataBerlin -- Amid signs of a major shakeup in German banking, Dresdner Bank has permitted Postbank executives to examine its books, the weekly news magazine Focus reported on Sunday.
Dresdner, Postbank and another major group, Commerzbank, look to be on the verge of a three-way merger.
In London meanwhile the Sunday Telegraph quoted sources saying that the fifth-largest British bank, Lloyds TSB, was considering playing spoiler with a bid for Postbank.
The owner, the Deutsche Post mail and logistics group, has said it is eager to sell Postbank, which, at 14.5 million has more customers than any other bank in Germany, but has a smaller business volume than Germany's big international banks.
Dresdner is a unit of the Allianz insurance group, which is also reportedly eager to shake it off.
Focus quoted sources saying the Dresdner-Postbank data swap allowed each to assess the other's customer mix as they consider what a cross-shareholding would be worth.
Consolidation in Germany's fragmented banking business is being prompted by the fallout from the global credit crisis.
Commerzbank, Germany's second biggest bank, and Dresdner were reported Thursday to be examining each other's books.
With a large part of Germany's banking market in the hands of state banks that turn in a low return on equity, the country's banks have been battling for years with low profitability.
The last major shakeout in the nation's financial sector was in 2005 when Italy's biggest bank, Unicredit, purchased Munich-based HVB in what was Europe's biggest-ever cross-border banking deal. DPA