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Deutsche Bank to close 20% of domestic branches

Banks in Europe are rethinking their branch strategies, as customers have been kept away during the coronavirus crisis.

Deutsche Bank announced on Tuesday (September 22) it's to shutter one in five branches in its home market, Germany.

Philipp Gossow, who oversees the retail banking business in Germany, told Reuters that the reduction to some 400 branches would happen "as quickly as possible".

The cull comes as Deutsche Bank undergoes a broad overhaul of its global operations

After years of losses, it has been seeking a turnaround since 2019.

German banks traditionally operate a large number of branches compared to countries including the Netherlands and the UK.

Customers in those nations appear more comfortable with digital offerings.

Deutsche's cross-town rival Commerzbank recently opted to shut 200 of its 1,000 branches.

Separately, Deutsche Bank also said on Tuesday that it is working to prepare for a wave of mergers in the sector.

That is something regulatory and political obstacles have long hindered.

This year though has seen major domestic bank tie-ups in Italy and Spain.

Now Deutsche says it supports the "appropriate or valid industrial logic" of mergers.

The statement comes amid growing speculation about a potential deal in Switzerland.

Board members of UBS gathered last week to discuss strategy.

Staff at the lender have recently examined the possibility of a merger with local rival Credit Suisse.