Number of European Financial Institutions In Decline

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1:56 PM EST January 22nd, 2013

On 1 January 2013 the total number of monetary financial institutions (MFIs) [1] in the euro area stood at 7,059, the European Central Bank has announced. This is a net decrease of 474 units (-6%) in comparison with the situation a year ago. The vast majority of euro area MFIs are credit institutions (i.e. commercial banks, savings banks, post office banks, credit unions, etc.), which accounted for 85.5% of MFIs (6,019 units) on 1 January 2013, while money market funds accounted for 14.0% (987 units). Central banks (18 units including the ECB) and other institutions (35 units) together accounted for only 0.2% of the total number of euro area MFIs.

With a few small exceptions, declines occurred across the whole of the euro area. In the European Union (EU) as a whole, there were 9,076 MFIs, a net decrease of 511 units. In relative terms, the decrease was particularly pronounced in Slovakia (-30%), Luxembourg (-22%), France (-9%), Spain and Finland (both -8%). In absolute terms, Luxembourg (-124), France (-105) and Italy (-55) were the main contributors to the net decrease of 474 units in the euro area.

Since 2011 a substantial decrease in the number of money market funds (an MFI sub-sector) has been recorded in the European Union (-519 over two years), partly on account of their new definition under Guideline ECB/2011/13, which is more closely in line with that used for supervisory purposes. In addition, the contraction in this sub-sector continued during 2012, most prominently in Luxembourg (-128) and France (-84), the ECB explains.

Despite the enlargement of the euro area through the accession of Greece (2001), Slovenia (2007), Cyprus and Malta (both 2008), Slovakia (2009) and Estonia (2011), the number of MFIs in the euro area has decreased by 28% or 2,797 institutions since 1 January 1999. On 1 January 2013 Germany and France accounted for 42% of all euro area MFIs, approximately the same share as recorded on 1 January 2012.

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