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Business Comment

James Moore: For Deutsche Bank, the answer's in the post

Outlook So boring banking does work, as Deutsche Bank showed yesterday, pulling off a rare feat for a bank right now of producing numbers that were rather better than expected.

The boring retail bit did all the hard work and, thanks to the acquisition of Deutsche Postbank, there are now 29 million customers who'll be hoping that the Deutsche is right to say the investment bank (just profitable with job losses expected) has been "de-risked".

But there are other questions facing Deutsche – not least from the sovereign debt crisis. Deutsche's Greek bonds, for example, are valued at 46 per cent of their notional value. That may prove to be on the high side. It's debt from Europe's "Club Med", that has shaken confidence in Europe's banks, leading to the vexed question of capital, and how much they need to hold to reassure customers.

Deutsche's chief financial officer Stefan Krause sought to reassure his shareholders, saying he saw no need for more even after the European Banking Authority's tougher stress tests.

We'll see about that. There are plenty of analysts willing to say, "Oh yes you do" in response to Mr Krause's, "Oh no we don't". The view that really matters is that of the regulator watching over the Punch and Judy show. With Deutsche admitting grim consequences if there is no credible resolution to the sovereign debt crisis, the bank's future is not exactly in its own hands.