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Will the German Government bail out Deutsche Bank?

Deutsche Bank, one of the world's major financial institutions, is experiencing problems that threaten to undermine the confidence of its clients and investors. The U.S. Department of Justice has proposed a $14 billion fine associated with actions that the bank undertook in connection with the 2008 financial crisis. Deutsche Bank is also substantially leveraged, it has exposure to a wide array of derivative contracts, and it faces an environment in which its profitability lags the cost of capital.

Deutsche Bank reports that it has an adequate cash cushion to weather foreseeable difficulties. Many observers believe that the D.O.J.'s $14 billion figure simply represents a starting point for negotiations, and that the final fine will not materially weaken the bank. On the other hand, the bank's stock price has fallen substantially over the past year, and some are worried that a Lehman-like collapse could trigger a replay of the financial crisis. This article in the Financial Times outlines some of the possible paths forward for Deutsche Bank.

Prior to January 1, 2017, will the German Government provide emergency financing to Deutsche Bank to stave off a default by the bank on its obligations? For this question to resolve in the positive, this assistance could come in the form (1) of a government guarantee to backstop a discounted capital raise, (2) a direct injection of liquidity, (3) a forced merger with a bank in which the German Government already has an onwership stake, or (4) a purchase (or equivalent) of a >10% share in Deutsche Bank itself.


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