Deutsche Bank said to refuse loan to Trump in 2016

Mr Donald Trump turned to Deutsche Bank to finance his business growth in early 2016.
Mr Donald Trump turned to Deutsche Bank to finance his business growth in early 2016.

NEW YORK • Donald Trump was burning through cash.

It was early 2016, and he was lending tens of millions of dollars to his presidential campaign and had been spending large sums to expand the Trump Organisation's roster of high-end properties.

To finance his business growth, Mr Trump turned to a long-time ally, Deutsche Bank, one of the few banks still willing to lend money to the man who called himself "The King of Debt".

Mr Trump's loan request, which has not been previously reported, set off a fight that reached the top of the German bank, according to three people familiar with the request.

In the end, Deutsche Bank did something unexpected. It said no.

Senior officials at the bank, including its future chief executive, believed that Mr Trump's divisive candidacy made such a loan too risky, the people said. Among their concerns was that if Mr Trump won the election and then defaulted, Deutsche Bank would have to choose between not collecting on the debt or seizing the assets of the president of the United States.

Two of the people familiar with the loan request said the Trump Organisation had been seeking to borrow against its Miami resort to pay for work on a golf property in Turnberry, Scotland. A Trump Organisation spokesman, Ms Amanda Miller, denied that the company had needed outside funding for Turnberry.

"This story is absolutely false," Ms Miller said. "We bought Trump Turnberry without any financing and put tens of millions of dollars of our own money into the renovation, which began in 2014. At no time was any money needed to finance the purchase or the refurbishment of Trump Turnberry."

She did not specifically address whether the Trump Organisation had sought a loan from Deutsche Bank. Mr Troy Gravitt, a Deutsche Bank spokesman, declined to comment.

The failed loan request is an untold chapter in Mr Trump's long and tortured relationship with the banking industry. It shows that he was actively engaged in running his business in the midst of the presidential campaign, and it is likely to attract scrutiny from Democrats on two House committees that are investigating his two-decade relationship with Deutsche Bank.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'Deutsche Bank said to refuse loan to Trump in 2016'. Subscribe