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Your secret’s unsafe with us

Ackermann and Rampl: "shhh...don't
tell anyone about the bad bank idea"

Germany's banking elite struggles to keep a secret, it seems. Confidential talks between executives from the country's largest banks and government officials wound up being anything but.

Senior figures, including chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Josef Ackermann, CEO of Deutsche Bank, huddled in Frankfurt to debate how to solve the financial system's impending crisis. The next day, news broke of plans to create a government-sponsored "bad bank".

Reports said Ackermann feels Germany needs a bad bank into which the other banks can offload non-performing loans. He said Deutsche had no interest in participating, which is interesting given its e1.7 billion of loan-losses in 2002.

Sources close to Ackermann say his comments have been taken out of context. "The banks met for a brainstorming session and Joe made the point that in certain extreme scenarios a bad bank has worked in other countries," says one. "The government took that on board as an interesting possibility."

It isn't clear who shared that view, but Euromoney bets that Dieter Rampl, HypoVereinsbank CEO, is among the supporters after his bank's e821 million loss last year.

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