Deutsche Bank’s effort to deal with complaints at Postbank delayed

FRANKFURT, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) said on Wednesday that efforts to resolve consumer complaints at its Postbank unit would continue into 2024, taking longer than previously anticipated.

Germany’s largest bank earlier this year botched the integration of its Postbank arm, leaving customers complaining that they were locked out of their accounts and unable to reach call centres.

Deutsche had hoped to clear up the issue in 2023.

The bank has made “significant progress”, a spokesperson said in a statement, but the rest of the “backlog is complex and takes more time in some areas”.

“This means that we will finalise a part of these cases in early 2024,” the statement said.

The Handelsblatt newspaper first reported the delay.

The issue has drawn the scorn of the nation’s top regulator and a mea culpa from Deutsche’s chief executive. It has also been a setback for Deutsche’s effort to restore credibility after fines over the last decade for lapses in money-laundering controls and other penalties.

Deutsche, which has put hundreds of additional staff in place to solve the problem, said that it had set up an online procedure for customers to claim damages.

Deutsche began acquiring Postbank, with its millions of clients and roots in the postal system, in 2008 during the global financial crisis, but for years struggled to complete its integration.

The bank said in July it had completed a final phase of integration, but in September the German financial regulator BaFin in an unusual rebuke said it had seen “considerable disturbances” at Postbank.

BaFin had received nearly 10,000 complaints about Postbank by early September, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

BaFin’s president later called the matter “unacceptable” and installed a special monitor at Deutsche.

Deutsche CEO Christian Sewing acknowledged that Deutsche had made mistakes.

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