Deutsche Bank swings to net profit in 2020, its first since 2014

Deutsche Bank swung to a small annual profit in 2020, its first since 2014, on the back of strong gains at its investment banking division, the German lender said on Thursday.

The net profit attributable to shareholders of 113 million euros ($135.69 million) compares with a 2019 loss of 5.7 billion euros. Analysts had expected a loss of around 300 million euros for 2020.

The return to profit is a victory for Chief Executive Christian Sewing, who was promoted in 2018 to turn around Germany’s largest lender after years of losses and steep fines for money laundering and its role in the mortgage crisis.

Over the past 10 years, Deutsche has lost a total 8.2 billion euros. Analysts believe the bank is set to post another profit in 2021, according to a consensus forecast.

“We have built firm foundations for sustainable profitability, and are confident that this overall positive trend will continue in 2021, despite these challenging times,” Sewing said.

Deutsche Bank, like its competitors, experienced a trading boom because of market volatility linked to the pandemic. That elevated the investment bank to its profit engine last year.

Revenue at the division rose 32% to 9.28 billion in 2020, while revenue from its key fixed-income and currency sales and trading business climbed 28%.

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