ECB Wants to Weed Out Smaller Banks to Cut Competition

The biggest financial problem in Europe these days is that it is ‘over-banked,’ according to Daniele Nouy, Chair of the ECB’s Supervisory Board, and thus in charge of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, which regulates the largest 130 European banks.
In a speech bizarrely titled ‘Too Much of a Good Thing: The Need for Consolidation in the European Banking Sector,’ Nouy blamed fierce competition for squeezing profits for many of Europe’s banks while steadfastly ignoring the much larger role in the profit squeeze played by the ECB’s negative-interest-rate policy. ECB President Mario Draghi agrees.
The profits of the largest 10 European banks rose by only 5% in the first half of 2017, compared to 19% for the US banks, which benefited from higher interest rates, stronger capital markets, better capitalization, and larger market shares, according to a new report by Ernst and Young.
In its latest annual health check of European banks, Bain Capital found that 31 institutions, or 28% of the 111 financial institutions they assessed, are in the ‘high-risk’ quadrant. Location seemed to be a far more important factor than size.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Sep 29, 2017.