Most CEOs prefer to build the balance sheet. There is more to play with and more assets to back loans for optimistic expansion plans. At struggling European banks the opposite is true. Less is more.

Deutsche Bank needs to push its costs down and find some way to cut back risk weighted assets. Not for the first time, CEO Christian Sewing has had to change direction. A poor first-quarter result meant rethinking previous (modest) profitability targets. The latest idea involves shrinking the investment bank.

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