The second quarter highlights the strengths of and challenges facing Deutsche Bank. Solid revenue growth underscores the fundamental strengths of our businesses and the commitment of our people. However, our challenges are also evident in the unacceptably high level of our costs, our continuing burden of heavy litigation charges, a balance sheet that must be more efficient, and the poor overall returns to our shareholders.
We must address these challenges. This is not a question of strategy; Strategy 2020 is built around the strengths of Deutsche Bank and we commit to it. But for our strategy to succeed, we must become more efficient. We must be disciplined in how, where and with whom we do business. We must critically review any countries, business lines, products, and relationships that are unattractive. We must shrink our balance sheet, focusing on our many low-return assets. We must reduce organizational complexity, which inhibits effective decision making, blurs accountability and embeds wasteful cost. Only by doing this can we produce the attractive returns our shareholders deserve.
Our financial performance does not reflect our tremendous potential. Deutsche Bank is a first rate institution built around long-standing and deep client relationships, strong product lines, skilled and committed staff, an invaluable brand and an exceptional position in our home market. We are dedicated to ensuring that our financial performance reflects those inherent strengths.