Going South at Germany's WestLB

The top public-sector bank is struggling with bad debts, deals gone sour, and a regulatory crackdown. Profits? Maybe next year

As a case study in Germany's banking crisis, Westdeutsche Landesbank looms large. The problems seem to get worse every day at the country's largest public-sector bank, with new bad debts, more red ink, and corporate customers rushing to the door. A glance at the results for 2003's first half, released on Aug. 6, shows how dire things are. After losing $1.9 billion in 2002, WestLB went $221.5 million further into the red in the six months ending in June.

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