Commerzbank has today reported a 51% decline in net profit in the fourth quarter amid weak markets and as the German lender focuses on a major overhaul. 

The €90m quarterly net profit at Germany's second-largest lender after Deutsche Bank was above expectations of €69.7m, according to a Reuters poll. 

The lender, still partly owned by the German government, is in the midst of an overhaul programme. 

It is reducing its staff while focusing on digitising its back office and expanding its retail customer base. 

"So far we made good progress in 2017," chief executive Martin Zielke said in a statement. 

"However, it is also clear that we still have some work ahead of us before we can achieve the profitability we are aiming for," he added. 

For the full year of 2017, the bank posted a net profit of €156m, down 44% from a year ago, but making good on its own promise to eke out a "slightly positive" net profit. 

In a sign of the bank's improving financial health, its Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio rose to 14.1% from 13.5% at the end of the third quarter. 

Martin Zielke said the bank aimed to resume dividend payments for 2018.