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Barclays and Deutsche Bank defy banking jitters with strong profits


By Hanna Ziady, CNN

Barclays and Deutsche Bank have shrugged off a turbulent first quarter to post strong profit growth, helping to calm investors worried about the prospect of another US bank failure.

The robust set of results was helped by income earned from higher interest rates, the lenders said Thursday.

Shares in Barclays jumped more than 4%, making it the top performer in Europe’s benchmark banking index, which was up less than 1%. Deutsche Bank gained 2.6%.

The earnings come just weeks after the failure of two US regional banks and a rescue of Credit Suisse sparked turmoil in the banking sector. Governments and major central banks had to intervene to prevent the crisis from spiraling into a broader financial sector meltdown.

As recently as late March, European bank stocks were hit by fears that the tumult could engulf more lenders, and some regulators in the region warned that the sector remained exposed. Deutsche Bank’s shares plunged as much as 14.5% during the March 24 trading session.

Fears have since receded, and central banks signaled Wednesday that their immediate concerns had eased.

The crisis may not be over yet, however. Another American bank, First Republic, is hanging by a thread.

There was little sign of weakness at Germany’s biggest bank. Deutsche Bank’s profit reached its highest in a decade, vindicating the once-struggling lender’s turnaround plan, launched in 2019.

The bank said first-quarter net profit rose 8% to €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion). Profit before tax jumped 12% on the previous year to €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion), the highest quarterly profit since 2013.

“In the first quarter, we again proved the strength and resilience of Deutsche Bank in challenging conditions,” chief financial officer James von Moltke said in a statement.

CEO Christian Sewing added that the results “demonstrate the relevance” of the bank’s strategy and underscore that it is “well on track” to meeting its cost, revenue and returns targets for 2025.

The bank said it would cut jobs in “management layers” and enforce “strict limitations on hiring in non-client facing areas,” without providing further details. Sewing later told journalists that the layoffs would affect about 800 people, Reuters reported.

Barclays also delivered better-than-expected results. The bank said net profit rose to £1.8 billion ($2.2 billion) in the first quarter, a 27% increase on the same period last year. The result beat analyst expectations by almost £400 million ($498 million), according to Refinitiv data.

Profit at Barclays UK shot up 30% to £515 million ($641.7 million), “primarily driven by net interest income growth from higher rates,” the bank noted.

Rapidly rising interest rates have boosted banks’ profitability because they are able to charge more interest on loans.

Barclays and Deutsche Bank’s results contrast with the troubles at First Republic Bank in the United States. The bank is teetering on the brink of collapse, threatening to unleash a fresh bout of turmoil in the banking sector.

“Signs look promising that issues over the pond aren’t leaking into the wider ecosystem,” Matt Britzman, an equity analyst at broker Hargreaves Lansdown, said in a note.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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