Wednesday 27 March 2019 1:03 pm

Entire Commerzbank board paid slightly more than just one Deutsche banker as pay exposes the pair's differences amid merger talks

The entire Commerzbank board were only just paid more than Deutsche Bank’s top investment banker last year, exposing the gulf between Germany’s two largest lenders as merger talks continue.

The seven members of Commerzbank’s board were collectively paid €8.76m last year – a 24 per cent cut on the previous year, the bank’s annual report revealed – while Deutsche Bank president Garth Ritchie himself earned €8.6m.

Read more: Germany is forcing a bank marriage that may not work

Ritchie has also been receiving €250,000 a month to deal with the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU – his €3m Brexit allowance last year was more than Commerzbank boss Martin Zielke’s entire pay packet.

The board’s pay cut contrasts that of Deutsche Bank, whose executive members scooped a combined €55.7m last year, up from €29.8m in 2017 despite the bank suffering a torrid year.

The pair confirmed exploratory merger talks earlier this month after the German government pushed for a tie up to create a national banking champion.

Berlin had become so concerned over the health of both banks and has indicated it would not object to necessary cost cuts or job losses.

Shareholders and analysts have criticised the potential merger and German unions have also threatened action following reports 30,000 jobs could be lost.

Union bosses have reported threaten to thwart Deutsche Bank’s integration of retail bank Postbank unless the merger is scrapped.

The pay figures further highlight the differences between the two banks as senior management continue to work towards a merger.

Read more: Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank confirm merger talks

Commerzbank profits rose sharply to €865m last year – more than double Deutsche Bank – from €128m the previous year – but cut executive pay while Deutsche Bank dished out pay rises.

Zielke’s pay dropped from €2.88m to €1.97m last year, while his Deutsche Bank counterpart Christian Sewing was given a hefty pay rise to €7m from €2.9m in 2017.