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Jobs are key in banking deal, Merkel’s Chief of Staff says

[FRANKFURT] Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff said jobs will be the government's priority when it comes to a potential merger between Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, adding that Germany doesn't need to have a national banking champion, according to Bild newspaper.

"Of course we're looking at the future of those jobs," Helge Braun, the chancellery minister in Merkel's cabinet, told Bild in an interview. Preserving jobs in the finance industry "is of course a very, very relevant point."

Braun, a Christian Democratic Union member and close ally of Merkel, said Europe's largest economy has no urgent need for a global player. A combination of the two lenders is no "systemic issue for Germany," he said.

"There is no single political motivation to push this merger -- it has to be a corporate one," Braun told Bild.

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The chancellery chief of staff said Merkel's government, which has a 15 per cent stake in Commerzbank, can "never be passive" when it comes to a banking merger on this scale and will make decisions closely with the Finance Ministry. Officials in Berlin will follow the talks in Frankfurt over the coming weeks, he said.

"It's very important to know the conditions," Braun told the newspaper. "Then we, as a shareholder, will of course make a decision. The Finance Ministry will take the lead and we in the chancellery will observe it closely."

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