With billions in profit, Commerzbank is picking up on the times before the financial crisis and is aiming for further growth this year. “The bottom line is that the consolidated result should be significantly higher than that of 2022,” announced the institute.
Last year, Commerzbank earned a good 1.4 billion euros, more than three times as much as a year earlier - and that despite charges of around one billion euros at the Polish subsidiary mBank. Commerzbank last reported a higher surplus in 2007 with a little more than 1.9 billion euros. In 2010, the profit was just below the value of 2022.
In these more than ten years, the money house has had to get through a lot of crises and corporate restructuring. After taking over Dresdner Bank in the financial crisis of 2008/2009, the state saved the institute from collapsing with billions in taxes and is still the largest single shareholder with 15.6 percent. A failed merger attempt with Deutsche Bank and staff disputes caused unrest in the years after the financial crisis.
Bank cut thousands of jobs
In 2021, Commerzbank was back in the black after a corporate restructuring and had earned 430 million euros on balance. The CEO Manfred Knof, who took office at the beginning of 2021, had tightened the austerity course. The bank cut thousands of jobs and significantly reduced its relatively dense branch network with around 1,000 locations in Germany before the pandemic. About 400 branches should remain this year.
"Commerzbank is back," Knof summed up. Driven by business, especially with corporate customers, and thanks to the turnaround in interest rates, Commerzbank increased its income in 2022 - i.e. total income - by around twelve percent compared to the previous year to a good 9.46 billion euros.
Banks have been getting interest again since July 2022 if they park money with the European Central Bank. In addition, money houses earn, for example, from higher interest rates on loans. Commerzbank intends to increase its net interest income this year from around EUR 6.46 billion to well over EUR 6.5 billion. Savings from branch closures and job cuts helped the bank reduce costs by 3.2 percent to around 6.5 billion euros. A value of 6.3 billion euros is targeted for 2023.
In 2022, Commerzbank's income and profit were also impacted by charges in connection with Swiss franc loans at the subsidiary mBank. Added to this were, among other things, the interest and repayment deferrals prescribed by law in Poland. mBank was in the red in 2022.
Back to the Dax
Commerzbank is striving to return to the Dax after two profitable years in a row. In order to accelerate the return to the first German stock exchange league after four and a half years, the group had already published key data for the past year at the end of January. On Friday evening, Deutsche Börse announced who will move up to the group of 40 companies in the German share index for the gas manufacturer Linde on February 27.
The Commerzbank management also promises better times for the shareholders: the shareholders are to receive a dividend for the first time since 2018 - namely 20 cents per share. In addition, a share buyback program is planned, through which capital can flow back.