BERLIN, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Germany’s government took aim at Deutsche Bank over a report it plans to pay out more than 1 billion euros ($1.24 billion) in bonuses, telling the loss-making lender to think about the impact on its public image.
Deutsche, Germany’s biggest bank, intends to raise annual bonus payments despite posting its third consecutive annual loss in 2017, German weekly newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported at the weekend.
While Deutsche, which declined to comment on Monday, is a private sector bank, “the company management must of course ask what impression it leaves in public,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in response to the report.
Last October a source told Reuters that Deutsche, which is struggling to keep pace with Wall Street firms, would pay higher bonuses in 2017 but that the exact level would depend on how its investment bank fared and what competitors paid.
A return to bigger bonuses would be a relief for Deutsche’s bankers as its total bonus payments dropped from 2.4 billion euros in 2015 to around 500 million euros in 2016 after a multi-billion dollar legal fine for the sale of toxic debt.
But Deutsche Bank has to tread carefully on payout levels because credit rating agencies are keeping close tabs on them and shareholders are frustrated by its slow turnaround. ($1 = 0.8064 euros) (Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Alexander Smith)