Table: Hard Times

Germany's big commercial banks are under pressure because...

-- High staff costs and sprawling branch networks keep expenses high

-- Rising corporate bankruptcies are fueling a jump in bad debts

-- The new Basel II capital-adequacy requirements will make much of their current lending unprofitable

...And are struggling to restore profitability by:

-- Closing branches, shedding staff, and streamlining their structures, while focusing capital on core businesses

-- Increasingly refusing to bail out failing companies such as Kirch or Philipp Holzmann

-- Reducing loans to small and midsize companies and pushing fee-based services

Data: BusinessWeek

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