Commerzbank’s corporate business inches back to growth
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BANKING

Commerzbank’s corporate business inches back to growth

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After years of retrenchment, Commerzbank’s head of corporate clients Michael Kotzbauer tells Euromoney of a tentative return to growth. The bank has dodged Germany’s commercial real estate slump but is having to adapt to a worsening geopolitical backdrop. Capital and cost efficiency remain big priorities.

In the depths of the Covid-19 crisis, Michael Kotzbauer had one of the most memorable client meetings of his three-decade long career as a German corporate banker.

It was with a family-owned business in the entertainment industry, a firm that had lost about 95% of its revenues because of the pandemic. At the client’s base – a vast Frankfurt building – only two people were present: the owner and the chief executive. They sat down with Kotzbauer, a 34-year corporate-banking veteran, to discuss what they needed to do to survive.

Three years later, the firm has not just survived but is thriving once again, despite Germany’s economic recession last year.

Kotzbauer, who became head of Commerzbank’s corporate business in early 2021, uses the example to illustrate how the bank has been able to renegotiate pricing with some clients – allowing it to boost what were previously desperately low lending yields – without taking on higher risk.

He

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EMEA editor
Dominic O’Neill is EMEA editor. He joined Euromoney in 2007 to cover emerging markets, focusing on central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and later on Latin America. Based in London, he has covered developed market banking since 2015.
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