For years, Donald Trump has used a powerful tool when dealing with bankers: his personal guarantee.
Now that guarantee — employed to extract better terms on hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to the Trump Organization — is at the center of a delicate loan-restructuring discussion at Deutsche Bank AG, which is under investigation on several fronts by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The bank is trying to restructure some of Trump’s roughly $300 million debtas part of an attempt to reduce any conflict of interest between the loan and his presidency, according to a person familiar with the matter. Normally, the removal of a personal pledge might lead to more-stringent terms. But there is little normal about this interaction. Trump’s attorney general will inherit an investigation of Deutsche Bank related to stock trades for rich clients in Russia — where Trump says he plans to improve relations — and may have to deal with a possible multibillion-dollar penalty to the bank related tomortgage-bond investigations.
Whatever terms a restructured loan might include, they will reflect the complex new relationship spawned between Germany’s largest bank and its highest-profile client. Ethicists say this concerns them.