PRESS RELEASE

Number of Monetary Financial Institutions in the Euro area and the European Union - 2009

13 January 2009

On 1 January 2009, the total number of monetary financial institutions (MFIs) [1] in the euro area stood at 8,350, a net increase of 463 units (5.9%) compared to one year ago. The net increase of 463 units (5.9%) was largely caused by a larger number of MFIs in Ireland (+449) and in Spain (+119). In addition, Slovakia increased the number of MFIs by 40 units when it joined the euro area on 1 January 2009. There are 10,476 MFIs in the European Union (EU).

Number of MFIs

  • On 1 January 2009, there were 8,350 MFIs resident in the euro area, compared with 7,887 MFIs on 1 January 2008. In Ireland, 419 credit unions have been reclassified as credit institutions (and thus as MFIs). In Spain, 114 capital market mutual funds have been reclassified as money market asset mutual funds, which are considered money market funds (MMFs) for ECB purposes.
  • Despite the enlargement of the euro area through the accession of Greece (2001), Slovenia (2007), Cyprus and Malta (both 2008) as well as Slovakia (2009), the number of MFIs in the euro area has decreased by 15% or 1,506 institutions since 1 January 1999. Germany and France account for 41% of all euro area MFIs. The decreasing trend in the numbers of MFIs since the start of Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union on 1 January 1999, is clearly visible in Chart 1 below.
  • On 1 January 2009, there were 10,476 MFIs resident in the EU, which implies a net increase of 408 units (4%) since 1 January 2008. Compared with the situation on 1 January 1999 (10,909 MFIs in the EU), there has been a net decrease of 433 units (4%), despite the addition of 1,608 MFIs on 1 May 2004, when ten new Member States acceded, and despite the addition of 72 MFIs on 1 January 2007, when Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU.

Structure of MFIs

  • The vast majority of euro area MFIs consists of credit institutions (i.e. commercial banks, savings banks, post banks, credit unions, etc.), which accounted for 79% (6,596 units) on 1 January 2009, while money market funds contributed 20.8% (1,734 units). Central banks (17 units including the ECB) and other institutions (3 units) together only accounted for 0.2% of all euro area MFIs.
  • In the EU as a whole, the shares of credit institutions and money market funds were 81.4% and 17.8%, respectively (see Chart 2 below).

Country breakdown on 1 January 2009

  • In the euro area, two countries accounted for 40.9% of all MFIs, namely Germany (24.7%) and France (16.2%). Italy, Austria and Ireland accounted for a further 29.4%. Over the past decade (1999-2009), noteworthy developments in national MFI sectors include: a significant increase of 285 units in Ireland (mainly on account of the reclassification of credit unions as credit institutions) and, conversely, relatively large decreases in the Netherlands, Germany and France (by 53%, 37% and 30% respectively), and to a lesser extent in Spain, Portugal and Belgium (by 22%, 22% and 21% respectively). Since joining the EU on 1 May 2004, the MFI sectors in Malta and Slovakia have increased notably, by 71% and 43% respectively. The number of MFIs in Cyprus, by contrast, has decreased by 60% over the same period (see Table 1 below).
  • Among the non-euro area countries, Poland has by far the largest number of MFIs (716), representing 7% of the MFI sector in the EU. Since their accession to the EU, there have been substantial increases in the MFI sectors of Latvia (40%) and Estonia (36%). Sweden saw an increase of 42% in the number of MFIs from 1999 to 2004, after which a decreasing trend started. In the United Kingdom and Denmark, the MFI populations contracted by 23% and 19% respectively in the period from 1999 to 2009.

Foreign branches

  • On 1 January 2009, 638 branches of foreign [2] credit institutions were resident in the euro area. These branches accounted for 9.6% of all euro area credit institutions. The largest share of these branches was located in Germany (18%), while Belgium had the largest proportion of foreign branches in relation to the total number of credit institutions (53%). For the majority of the foreign branches in euro area countries, the head offices were located either in another euro area country (64%) or in the United Kingdom (14%).
  • On 1 January 2009, there were 142 branches of foreign credit institutions resident in non-euro area EU countries. Of these, the largest percentage (43%) was located in the United Kingdom. Estonia had the largest proportion of foreign branches (60%), in relation to the total number of credit institutions in the country. The head offices of the majority of foreign branches in non-euro area EU countries were located either in euro area countries (66%) or in other non-euro area EU Member States (31%).
Table 1 – Number of MFIs per country and percentage changes in recent periods
Country Number of MFIs Percentage changes
1 Jan. 
1999 1 Jan. 
2001 1 May
2004 1 Jan. 
2007 1 Jan. 
2008 1 Jan. 
2009 1 Jan. 1999 to
 1 Jan. 2009 1 May 2004 to 
1 Jan. 2009 1 Jan 2008 to 
1 Jan. 2009
ECB 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
BE 153 142 126 120 126 121 -21 -4 -4
DE 3,280 2,782 2,268 2,106 2,097 2,061 -37 -9 -2
GR 102 105 100 93 91 93 -9 -7 2
IE 96 211 294 318 332 781 714 166 135
ES 608 571 512 366 358 477 -22 -7 33
FR 1,938 1,764 1,577 1,440 1,386 1,354 -30 -14 -2
IT 944 884 854 856 863 853 -10 0 -1
CY - - 409 337 216 164 - -60 -24
LU 676 662 586 565 613 644 -5 10 5
MT - - 17 23 28 29 - 71 4
NL 668 620 484 355 351 312 -53 -36 -11
AT 910 866 827 822 822 824 -9 0 0
PT 228 223 205 183 180 178 -22 -13 -1
SI - - 27 30 30 28 - 4 -7
SK - - 28 34 38 40 - 43 5
FI 354 362 396 391 393 390 10 -2 -1
Euro area* 9,856 9,193 8,230 7,646 7,887 8,350 -15 1 5.4
BG - - 33 33 35 - - 6
CZ - - 79 66 67 66 - -16 -1
DK 216 213 206 194 192 174 -19 -16 -9
EE - - 25 26 29 34 - 36 17
LV - - 52 65 69 73 - 40 6
LT - - 74 80 83 87 - 18 5
HU - - 238 241 241 243 - 2 1
PL - - 659 729 722 716 - 9 -1
RO - - 39 49 52 - - 6
SE 179 177 255 238 235 217 21 -15 -8
UK 556 541 457 440 423 429 -23 -6 1
EU 10,909 10,124 10,756 10,191 10,068 10,476 -4 -3 4

* ) Data refer to the changing composition of the euro area.

The number of MFIs has been derived from the ECB’s “List of monetary financial institutions”, which is updated daily on the ECB’s website and is compiled according to stringent requirements to ensure its completeness, accuracy and homogeneity across countries. Its objectives are twofold, namely (i) to serve as the reference reporting population for the compilation of comprehensive and consistent monetary statistics for the euro area and (ii) to serve as a register and a reliable sampling frame for other data collections and for statistical and economic analyses.

The “List of monetary financial institutions” and the “List of monetary financial institutions and institutions subject to minimum reserves” can be downloaded from the “Statistics” section of the ECB’s website, under “Money, banking and financial markets”/“List of Monetary Financial Institutions”/”MFI data access” (http://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/money/mfi/elegass/html/index.en.html).



[1]Monetary financial institutions are credit institutions as defined in Community law and other resident financial institutions whose business is to receive deposits and/or close substitutes for deposits from entities other than MFIs, and to grant credit and/or invest in securities for their own account.

[2]This refers to an institution falling under the definition contained in the Banking Co-ordination Directive 2000/12/EC of 20 March 2000, i.e. a “ place of business which forms a legally dependent part of a credit institution and which carries out directly all or some of the transactions inherent in the business of credit institutions; any number of places of business set up in the same Member State by a credit institution with headquarters in another Member State shall be regarded as a single branch.” This definition applies to all Member States.

Media contacts