Magazine article American Banker

Westdeutsche Plans U.S. Securities Push

Magazine article American Banker

Westdeutsche Plans U.S. Securities Push

Article excerpt

Germany's Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale plans a major push into the U.S. securities business next year.

H. Juergen Schlichting, WestLB's managing director and its chief executive for North America, said in an interview that the aim was to increase trading, distribution, and underwriting in the United States.

The New York-based executive said the U.S. plan was part of a worldwide expansion and diversification for WestLB to help it meet increased competition from U.S. banks.

Transformation Under Way

Over the past few years, WestLB has moved to transform itself from a German regional bank into a worldwide participant in wholesale banking markets.

"The competitive environment in the U.S. will strengthen as the banking industry consolidates and U.S. banks become better capitalized," Mr. Schlichting said.

WestLB joins other highly rated European institutions that have expanded their securities operations in the United States.

Trying to Keep Ahead

These include Switzerland's three big banks - Swiss Bank Corp., Union Bank of Switzerland, and Credit Suisse - as well as some German and French banks.

Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest, beefed up its investment banking activities here earlier this year.

"We're not trying to emulate others, and we don't expect to outrun and outgun everyone else," Mr. Schlichting said. "But we will try to stay a little bit ahead of the pack."

With $149 billion in assets, Dusseldorf-based WestLB ranked 34th among the world's banks at yearend.

The bank has more than tripled its onshore and offshore U. …

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