By John O'Donnell
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> has continued to pay staff roughly the same amount as it did a decade ago, despite the financial crisis and a collapse in profits, according to a Reuters analysis of its financial reports.
Germany's biggest bank paid its staff more than 13 billion euros ($13.6 billion) in total last year, including benefits and bonuses, despite making a loss of almost 6.8 billion euros. That level of pay was about the same as in 2007, when it made a profit of around 6.5 billion euros.
This year, staff received more than 9 billion euros in the nine months to September, while profit in that time was about 500 million euros, according to its reports.
The payouts show how Deutsche Bank, which recently had to deny speculation that it would be rescued by Germany as it faces a heavy U.S. penalty for selling toxic mortgage securities, rewards staff at a steady level despite sliding profits.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the pay figures.
By comparison Swiss rival UBS reduced its staff costs by almost 1 billion Swiss francs to just under 16 billion francs ($15.55 billion) in 2015, compared with 2010.
It made a net profit of more than 7.5 billion Swiss francs in 2010 and more than 6 billion Swiss francs last year.
Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland <RBS.L>, as it retrenched in investment banking, and Barclays <BARC.L>, which did not, also reduced staff costs over this time.
Stubbornly high costs at Deutsche Bank have frustrated shareholders, and the staff expenses over almost a decade illustrate the scale of the challenge facing its Chief Executive John Cryan to turn the group around.
High pay has also grated with many ordinary Germans, who often criticize the bank for its aggressive pursuit of success on Wall Street, while losing touch with its roots in Frankfurt.
"The bank has consistently paid bonuses and high salaries to reward success - success that has not materialized," said Dieter Hein, an analyst from Fairesearch in Frankfurt. "As profits collapsed, pay has even increased. This is absurd."
In 2007, Deutsche Bank paid employees a total of just over 13 billion euros. While the figure dipped the following year, it rebounded in 2010 to 12 billion euros and rose higher still - as profits shrank. Its downward profit spiral reached a nadir in 2015, when it made the loss of more than 6.7 billion euros.
But overall staff costs are likely to come down at Deutsche, as Cryan reassesses a year-old strategy to revive the flagging group, which has seen sharp falls in its stock price and even some customers withdrawing funds.
The bank said in October last year that it planned to cut 9,000 staff. Executives are also examining a further 10,000 job cuts, a source recently told Reuters.
On pay, the bank has introduced new rules to tie bonuses to overall group performance, although salaries, which have risen across the industry, are not affected by that change.
($1 = 0.9585 euros; $1 = 1.0288 Swiss francs)
(Reporting By John O'Donnell; Editing by Pravin Char)