German officials could be about to find themselves in an uncomfortable position: Being called on to show they're ready to rescue a bank in a part of the world where such operations are considered taboo.
Deutsche Bank came under intensified market fire Thursday, the latest salvo being a Bloomberg report that a small number of hedge funds are trimming their sails at the German bank.
In a broad perspective, the move would represent a minor dent in Deutsche's derivatives clearing business. Barry Bausano, chairman of Deutsche's hedge fund business, told CNBC on Thursday that while there have been some outflows, there have also been inflows, which he said is "part of the typical ebbs and flows" of the prime brokerage business.
But at a time when investors are fearing what the future holds for the highly leveraged institution, such news is enough to cause ripples. Shares tumbled more than 7 percent in mid-afternoon trading. The plunge took the broader market down as well.
Consequently, market talk intensified that it's becoming time for the German government step in and assure investors that it will be at the ready to stabilize both Deutsche and the broader system — much along the lines of what U.S. officials had to do during the 2008 financial crisis.
"They're going to probably have to say that they would be willing to put funds into the bank," said banking analyst Christopher Whalen, senior managing director and head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency. "It's exactly like what (former Treasury Secretary Henry) Paulson did with Citi ... It's a very analogous situation. Hopefully, the German government will take a page from that particular book and look at how the U.S. responded."