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EU banks cut staff and branches while assets stagnate

The European Central Bank (ECB) has published a set of structural financial indicators for the banking sector in the European Union (EU).

Of particular note for corporate treasuries are the figures showing that banks in the EU have down-sized considerably since 2011. The data shows that:

  • Credit institutions in the EU cut 35,000 branches, from 223,000 in 2011 to 188,000 in 2015.
  • Employees dropped by about 200,000, from 3.1 million to 2.86 million over the same period.

The report also shows how assets under management have been rising and falling in various EU countries in the past five years. Overall, assets reported by branches of credit institutions in the EU have remained broadly stable since 2011. Credit institutions from EU countries had €2.5 trillion-worth of assets in 2015, down from €2.7 trillion in 2011. Branches of credit institutions from non-EU countries maintained similar stability, with €2.443 trillion-worth of assets last year, compared to €2.447 trillion in 2011. Of note is that the vast majority of assets under management, from both EU and non-EU banks, are based in the UK.

The importance of the UK financial sector, in terms of total assets reported by branches of credit institutions from EU and non-EU countries, is shown in the table below, courtesy of the ECB:

The ECB also stated that “the degree of concentration in the banking sector (measured by the share of assets held by the five largest banks) and the share of foreign-controlled institutions continue to vary significantly across national markets. The share of total assets of the five largest credit institutions, at national level, ranged from 31% to 95% at the end of 2015.”

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Bank Relations & KYC
Evaluating Banks’ Overall Performance

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