The German government's partial nationalization of Commerzbank reflects the severity of the financial crisis. Berlin wants to use Commerzbank to jump-start stalled bank lending to companies.

Berlin is taking a €10 billion stake in Commerzbank, an investment that will it direct influence in the business operations and structure of a major German commercial bank.

The Commerzbank deal has turned the government into the most important shareholder in Germany's second-largest private sector bank. Berlin will have two representatives on the supervisory board and its 25 percent stake gives it the power to block every major decision Commerzbank's management board takes in the future.

Spiegel Online (English language Edition)