Do Big Banks Take Pay Cuts? Deutsche Lowers Executives' Bonuses 'Almost 80%' Amid Rampant Legal Issues

Following a year of costly legal pitfalls, Deutsche Bank’s (DB) chief administrative officer told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagzeitung Sunday that the megabank would be reducing the bonuses of 25,000 staff—a quarter of its workforce...

Do Big Banks Take Pay Cuts? Deutsche Lowers Executives' Bonuses 'Almost 80%' Amid Rampant Legal Issues

Following a year of costly legal pitfalls, Deutsche Bank’s (DB) chief administrative officer told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagzeitung Sunday that the megabank would be reducing the bonuses of 25,000 staff—a quarter of its workforce and strictly executives—by “almost 80 percent.”

Deutsche staff members found the drop in their 2016 bonus “frustrating,” Karl von Rohr said in an interview with the German paper, but the company decided to cut down on its employees’ pay as a means of “keeping in mind our shareholders.”

The Frankfurt-based investment bank initially notified its top executives in mid-January that they would not be receiving bonuses for the second year in a row, Bloomberg reported, citing an internal memo.

Germany’s largest bank may be cutting back in an attempt to cover an annual net loss of $1.44 billion following a 2015 net loss of $7.21 billion and a fourth quarter net loss of more than $2 billion.

The Department of Justice ordered Deutsche in mid-January to cough up what the agency said was “the single largest” fine for any bank packaging and selling faulty mortgage-backed securities, a key ingredient in the 2008 financial crisis.

“Deutsche Bank did not merely mislead investors: it contributed directly to an international financial crisis,” then Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement from the Justice Department on the settlement. “Our settlement today makes clear that institutions like Deutsche Bank cannot evade responsibility for the great cost exacted by their conduct.”

Less than two weeks prior to the landmark mortgage-backed securities settlement, the bank faced a smaller fine of $95 million from prominent New York District Attorney Preet Bharara for “using a web of shell companies and series of calculated transactions” to evade “tens of millions of dollars in taxes,” as Bharara put it in a Department news release.

As recently as Jan. 31, Deutsche pledged to pay $630 million to regulators in the U.S. and U.K. for $10 billion in so-called “mirror trades” with Russian stocks between 2011 and 2015.

The prevalence of legal debacles led the bank’s management team to pen a Feb. 3 letter to clients apologizing for its misbehavior, which it said “cost us dearly in terms of reputation and trust.”

Deutsche’s share price has relatedly had a volatile couple of years, reaching highs of around $36 and lows in the single digits. As of market open Monday, the bank’s share price hovered around $19.40.

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