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Zombie Banks: How Broken Banks and Debtor Nations are Crippling the Global Economy by YALMAN ONARAN

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Chapter 4

Germany’s Untouchable Zombies

When Roman Schmidt was preparing to start his first job after college in the early 1980s, his father was warned by one of his friends about the prospects of the bank that was hiring him. “Why did you allow your son to join a landesbank?” the friend asked Schmidt’s father at the time. “The landesbanks don’t have a business model. They’ll all merge or be wound down soon.” Schmidt didn’t stay at WestLB for too long, but the national discussion about the landesbanks continued. A few years later, a consultancy firm wrote a report to the German government basically reaching the same conclusion: they don’t have a sustainable model any more. The European Commission told the country around the same time that they ...

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