The Number of Banks in the Euro Area Has Continued to Decline
The number of banks in the euro area has continued to decline over the past year, but capital buffers are improving. This shows data from the European Central Bank quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
On an unconsolidated basis, the number of credit institutions at the end of the previous year was 5073 compared to 5474 in 2015.
On a consolidated basis (the banks belonging to one group are counted as the same credit institution), the number has reached 2290 compared to 2379 in 2015.
The data also indicate that increasing digitization has led to staff cuts. Only in 2016 were 7,000 bank branches closed in the euro area.
Surviving banks, however, are financially more healthy. The average level of their so called "capital adequacy" rose to 15.4% from 14.4% a year earlier.
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