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Best Borrowers 2008: Deutsche Bank

When Deutsche Bank paid a large premium to issue bonds in August, many derided the deals. But a lot of borrowers would now be very happy to have funded at the same levels.

In mid-August last year, it would have been difficult to find a bank that was not of the opinion that the credit crunch would be short-lived. Most were saying that the sub-prime troubles were relatively limited, and that the widening spreads and diminishing liquidity would come back soon, as they had during previous blips in the overall bull market of the past several years. But not everyone was so quick to dismiss the possibility of a prolonged problem. On August 22, Deutsche Bank issued a $3 billion, 10-year bond with a yield of about 145 basis points over US treasuries, and six days later went to the European market for €1.5 billion at 90bp over Libor, also with a 10-year maturity. The general market consensus at the time was that the German bank had paid far too much, but Deutsche bankers were taking a more realistic view. "When we’ve seen setbacks in the past decade, they were mostly only temporary setbacks; even the longer ones were only for a few months," says Chris Whitman, group treasurer at Deutsche Bank.

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