Global investment giant Deutsche Bank is to open its first Birmingham base in a move experts predicted would herald a renaissance of the city's banking sector with thousands of new jobs.
Deutsche Bank has clinched a deal which will see it occupy nearly 69,000 sq ft of space at 1 Brindley-place. The bank will initially move about 250 staff into a new "operational processing centre" which is expected to open in June or July.
The bank's decision to move into Birmingham comes as Barclays looks for about 100,000 sq ft of space to consolidate a number of its operations into a new city centre base. It is understood to be looking at either the new Colmore Plaza development - due to officially open later this month - or the nearby Snow Hill scheme.
HSBC is also said to be looking at a number of potential sites in Birmingham for an even bigger base. According to sources, it has a requirement in the region of 400,000 sq ft - creating the potential for as many as 4,000 jobs.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: "The arrival of Deutsche Bank, and the possibility of more banking giants arriving in the city over the coming years, is great news for Birmingham's burgeoning professional and financial sector.
"Birmingham's reputation as one of the fastest growing professional centres in Europe will certainly be enhanced by this news and will generate millions of pounds for the city and regional economy.
"The city has worked hard to refresh its image over the years, recognising the move away from the heavy industrial base of the past. The big accountancy and law firms have long had offices here, but it shows how far the city has come when one of the big foreign banks establishes a base.
"It also highlights the need for more Grade A office space in the city centre. Birmingham has missed out on the past because of this but now it seems developments such as those at Colmore Plaza and Snow Hill will solve that problem." Deutsche Bank, which employs about 78,000 people in 76 countries, clinched its deal at Brindleyplace late last week. The six-year agreement gives it a lease until 2014 but importantly the amount of space involved leaves it ample room for further expansion - it could easily double the number of workers in its new centre.
Councillor Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "That a major international company such as Deutsche Bank has chosen Birmingham as the location for such a key element of its business provides yet more evidence of the city's ever growing prominence as the city of choice for the financial and professional sectors outside of London."
Chris Monk, a former chairman of Birmingham Forward who is due to retire next year as a partner in award winning property firm King Sturge, said Deutsche Bank's move sent out a "real signal" that Birmingham was putting itself back on the national banking map.
The decision by developers to build new schemes on a speculative basis - risking their own money - was now beginning to pay off for the city, he added.
Jan Thompson, a director of Jones Lang LaSalle, is understood to have been involved in the Deutsche Bank lease deal and is also working with Barclays in its current negotiations. However, he was not available for comment last night.
Barclays declined to talk about its search for a new city centre operation but a spokeswoman said: "Birmingham as a financial centre is extremely important to Barclays."