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Deutsche Bank's Problem with Profit

Deutsche Bank admits it faces a long and painful road to rehabilitation.

"The issue we have is we have to get an awful lot done this year," Co-CEO John Cryan told investors as the bank reported earnings on Thursday. "A bigger profit might be a hallmark of us not having achieved what we want to achieve."

Given that, investors should be troubled by the bank's better-than-expected results.

First-quarter profit of 214 million euros ($242 million) beat analyst estimates, thanks largely to the Postbank consumer arm and the non-core unit performing less badly than expected.

Ignore the fact that the lender had already managed analysts' expectations downward -- net was down about 61 percent from the same period a year ago (when results were hit hard by major litigation costs.)

Revenue fell 22 percent, with all major business segments in decline: global markets revenue was down 23 percent. Corporate and investment banking revenue fell 15 percent. Commercial banking and wealth management income were also down.

Just as at other banks, the declines were the...