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Gerhard Bruckermann

Gerhard Bruckermann

“When I arrived, Depfa wasn’t just German,” says Gerhard Bruckermann. “It was ultra-German. This was 13 years ago, just after privatization, and nobody thought about profitability.”

How times change. Last year, Depfa increased group net income by 57% to €370 million. Its return on equity was 29%. And Depfa today is at the very least a European bank. Of its staff, the largest single group by nationality are the Irish. The Germans are in second place.

Now Bruckermann is leading Depfa on the next leg of its internationalization as it takes on the US.

Depfa argues that going to America is a logical extension of the bank’s core business of public sector and infrastructure lending. Its public sector lending grew by €10 billion last year. This included an increase in German public-sector business for the first time in several years.

“Going into the US last year was a continuation of our policy but it captured a little more limelight because the US is such a big market,” says Bruckermann. “And it is structured differently from the rest of the world.”

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