The decision by Deutsche Bank and Barclays to forgo government help may appear to be a sign of strength, but a closer look raises a number of questions. In rejecting the aid, Barclays has had to pay a premium to raise capital, but executives said it is worth the price for the bank not to be under the UK government's thumb. Deutsche Bank is working to shrink its balance sheet. Investors are considering everything from the banks' total assets, leverage and accounting practices.

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