Deutsche Bank opens digital factory, hires 400 specialists

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank opened a center for software developers and IT and financial specialists in Frankfurt on Thursday, joining other lenders in developing products for digital banking. Germany's biggest lender said the so-called digital factory brought together 400 technology and financial professionals from 14 countries. It plans to double staffing to 800 by 2018. The aim of digital factories is to make internal financial processes faster, simpler and more secure, as well as to meet rising customer demand for products such as more flexible mobile payments and banking options. "We don't want to be driven by digitalization; we want to be in the driver's seat," said Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank's board member responsible for the endeavor. The lender, which has similar tech centers in New York, London and Berlin, plans to invest 750 million euros ($842 million) in the effort through 2020, including 200 million in this year alone. The bank is facing myriad problems, including fighting a $14 billion demand from the U.S. Department of Justice to settle claims it missold mortgage-backed securities, a shock bill that has raised questions about the lender's future. A number of financial technology centers have opened in Frankfurt in recent months, including by Commerzbank and Deutsche Boerse. (Reporting by Jonathan Gould; editing by Susan Thomas)