Commerzbank′s Blessing to leave, retail arm lifts profits | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 02.11.2015
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Commerzbank's Blessing to leave, retail arm lifts profits

Germany's second-largest lender has announced its first dividend since 2007, on the back of a strong earnings report. Chief executive Martin Blessing, however, will leave the bank next October.

Commerzbank posted a 25-percent rise in third-quarter operating profit of 429 million euros ($473 million). The bank has decided to pay a dividend of 20 cents per share for the current year. It is the first time the lender has paid a dividend since before the global financial crisis in 2007.

The lender said its retail banking unit boosted profits. Germany's robust economy also meant Commerzbank's provisions for bad loans decreased. The bank's portfolio of unwanted assets also broke even.

Net profit fell by 8 percent to 207 million euros in the same period - mainly due to restructuring expenses of 28 million euros and a higher tax bill.

Chief Executive Martin Blessing, who took the helm in May 2008 and is credited with the bank's turnaround after the global financial crisis, announced that he would not renew his contract when it expires in October 2016.

Blessing said in a statement that after 15 years on the Commerzbank board, and half that time as chief executive, he was ready to "start a new chapter in my career."

Frankfurt-based Commerzbank was severely hit by the financial crisis. It was bailed out in 2009, and the government still holds a 15-percent stake in the bank. After thousands of layoffs and a strict cost-cutting routine, it has since managed a successful turnaround.

ng/cjc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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