In the annals of recent headcount slashing, Commerzbank definitely ranks among the most ruthless.
In yesterday's conference call, the bank revealed that it had cut front office investment bankers from around 3,200 to around 1,900 in the past year - a mighty 40% cut.
Nor is the slashing completed yet. As we noted earlier this week, the cost/revenue ratio at Commerz's corporate banking and market's division remains somewhat elevated at 107%. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the bank has also announced plans to extract a further 250 staff in 2010.
With a view to containing costs and pleasing Angela Merkel, Commerz CEO Martin Blessing also divulged his intention to pay his investment bankers practically no bonuses for 2009. London bankers will therefore have to make do with the second of the two comparatively generous stabilisation payments which the bank is thought to have paid in December in an effort to buy their loyalty.
One senior London Commerz banker told us yesterday that the paltry bonuses and plans for further headcount reductions were news to hi. He also doubted it would be possible to pare down the London office any further: "They've cut everyone they possibly can."