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ECB action could hurt banks' margins: Deutsche Bank co-CEO

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The European Central Bank's expected launch of a bond buying stimulus programme on Thursday will have a profound effect on banks in Europe and could destroy margins, the co-head of Deutsche Bank said.

[DAVOS] The European Central Bank's expected launch of a bond buying stimulus programme on Thursday will have a profound effect on banks in Europe and could destroy margins, the co-head of Deutsche Bank said.

Investors expect the ECB to launch so-called quantitative easing on Thursday, whereby it will buy sovereign bonds in an attempt to head off deflation.

"Quantitative easing will be of profound importance for Europe overall and particularly for banks operating in Europe," Anshu Jain, co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.

"QE means stability for Europe and a better loan-loss provision environment, fewer bankruptcies and a stable landscape that ought to be good for banks.

"Equally it means very low interest rates and a real destruction of net interest margins, which of course will be a huge challenge. So the best parts of our businesses, the deposit taking and the flow franchise businesses will all suffer," Mr Jain said.

He said markets were expecting the ECB to announce QE of about 750 billion euros; 500 billion could be "slightly disappointing" for markets and one trillion euros would be viewed as bullish.

He said banks would need to adjust all aspects of their business model to the new landscape that QE brings.

"We really need to adapt to this environment and frankly it's here to stay until European growth turns around, which could be while," he said.

REUTERS