Frankfurt — A merger of Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG is shaping up as the most likely endgame as Germany’s largest listed lenders are running out of time to show they can grow as standalone companies. The banks are intensifying informal talks as their turnaround efforts sputter, according to a person familiar with the matter. While there’s no formal mandate to pursue a merger and other options are still being considered, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing has given up his resistance to doing a deal this year, according to the person, who asked not to be identified in disclosing internal deliberations. Less than a year after taking over, Sewing is still struggling to reverse a long slide in revenue amid a slowdown in the economy that’s delaying a return to more normal interest rates. The finance ministry favors a merger of both lenders before the situation gets worse to support the small and mid-sized companies that are the backbone of the export economy, people familiar with ...

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