Boosted by strong gains from its investment banking division, the onetime problem child of the business, German giant Deutsche Bank on Thursday posted its first annual profit since 2014.
Net profit for 2020 reached 113 million euros ($135.5 million), while for the fourth quarter of the year, net earnings came in at 51 million euros.
The bank nevertheless set aside close to 1.8 billion euros in provisions in 2020 to cope with the risk of credit losses — around 2.5 times more than in 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Net revenues at its investment bank rose 32% to 9.3 billion euros during the year.
Profit before tax for the division reached 3.2 billion euros, six times that of 2019.
Cheering the results, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said: "In the most important year of our transformation, we were able to more than offset transformation-related effects and elevated credit provisions despite the global pandemic."
The group lost 5.72 billion euros in 2019, its fifth consecutive net loss and in July announced a major restructuring plan.
Its worst-ever year came in 2016 when it lost 6.8 billion euros, mostly related to its investment bank's activities in the years around the financial crisis.
As a result, the investment bank was heavily hit in Sewing's restructuring plan in which about a fifth of the group's total staff were to depart by 2022.
After the gains booked in 2020, Sewing said he expected the positive momentum to carry through into 2021.
"We have built firm foundations for sustainable profitability and are confident that this overall positive trend will continue in 2021 despite these challenging times," he said.
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