Financial structure

The financial system channels funds from those who are net savers (i.e. who spend less than their income) to those who are net spenders (who spend more than their income).

The two main routes to channel funds from savers to borrowers are:
  • direct or market-based finance via financial markets (see top route in the chart below), and
  • indirect or bank-based finance via financial intermediaries (see the bottom of the chart below).

Assets and liabilities in the euro area

As regards financial assets of the non-financial sector in the euro area, currency and deposits accounted for around24% of total assets at the end of 2012, while securities and shares accounted together for around 39%. Insurance technical reserves accounted for around 16%.

Loans accounted for 49% of total liabilities, whereas securities, including quoted shares, comprised around 35% of the financing sources of the non-financial sector.

Main financial assets of non-financial sectors in the euro area at end-2012 (1)

Outstanding amounts of selected financial assets EUR billions %
Total 41,190 100.0
Currency and deposits 9,939 24.1
  Currency 735.0 1.8
  Deposits with 9,204 22.3
    Euro area MFIs 8,447.5 20.5
    Non-MFIs 756.3 1.8
Securities other than shares 2,201 5.3
  Short-term 165.7 0.4
  Long-term 2,035.1 4.9
Shares 13,857 34
  Quoted shares 2,099.0 5.1
  Unquoted shares 9,787.5 23.8
  Mutual fund shares 1,970.4 4.8
    o/w Money market fund shares/units 272.4 0.7
Insurance technical reserves 6,401 15.5
  Net equity of households in life
insurance and pension fund reserves
5,919.9 14.4
  Prepayments of insurance premiums
and reserves for outstanding claims
480.9 1.2
Other (2) 8,793.2 21.3
Sources: ECB and Eurostat
( 1 ) Non-financial sectors comprise general government, non-financial corporations and households, including non-profit institutions serving households.
( 2 ) Other financial assets comprise loans and other accounts receivable, which in turn include trade credit granted by non-financial corporations.

Main financial liabilities of non-financial sectors in the euro area at end-2012 (1)

Outstanding amounts of selected financial liabilities EUR billions %
Sources: ECB and Eurostat
( 1 ) Non-financial sectors comprise general government, non-financial corporations and households, including non-profit institutions serving households.
( 2 ) Including non-profit institutions serving households.
( 3 ) Other financial liabilities comprise other accounts payable and financial derivatives.
Total 34,395 100.0
Loans 16,813 48.9
a) taken from    
  Euro area MFIs 11,006 32.0
    o/w short-term
o/w long term
1,594
9,412
4.6
27.4
  Other financial intermediaries 5,807 16.9
b) granted to    
  General government 2,273 6.6
    Short-term 301 0.9
    Long-term 1,972 5.7
  Non-financial corporations 8,347 24.3
    Short-term 2,254 6.6
    Long-term 6,093 17.7
  Households (2) 6,192 18.0
    Short-term 352 1.0
    Long-term 5,840 17.0
Securities other than shares 8,430 24.5
  general government 7,391 21.5
    Short-term 670 1.9
    Long-term 6,721 19.5
  non-financial corporations 1,040 3.0
    Short-term 83 0.2
    Long-term 956 2.8
Quoted shares    
  issued by non-financial corporations 3,747 10.9
Deposits    
  liabilities of central government 256 0.7
Pension fund reserves    
  of non-financial corporations 349 1.0
Other (3) 4,801 14.0