PRESS RELEASE

EU structural financial indicators: End of 2017 (preliminary results)

23 May 2018

  • The decline in the number of bank branches has continued in most EU countries, on average by 3.9%.
  • The number of bank employees also slightly decreased, on average by 0.3%.
  • The degree of concentration of the banking sector differs across national markets very widely, with the share of assets of the five largest banks at national level varying from 26% to 97%.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has updated its comprehensive dataset of structural financial indicators for the banking sector in the European Union (EU) with preliminary results for the end of 2017. This annual dataset comprises statistics on the number of branches and employees of EU credit institutions, data on the degree of concentration of the banking sector in each EU Member State, and data on the share of foreign-controlled institutions in EU national banking markets.

The structural financial indicators show, for instance, that in 22 of the 26 EU Member States that are covered by the already available data, the number of branches of domestic credit institutions has continued to decline, on average for the 26 by 3.9%.

The number of employees of credit institutions in the EU has also fallen in 20 out of 28 EU countries with an average 0.3% reduction in the EU as a whole. The decrease of bank employees is a trend observed in the majority of countries since 2008.

The data also indicate that the degree of concentration in the banking sector (measured by the share of assets held by the five largest banks) and also the share of foreign-controlled institutions in national banking markets significantly differ between EU countries. The share of total assets of the five largest credit institutions, at national level, ranges from 26% to 97% at the end of 2017.

The structural financial indicators are published this year by the ECB twice with a preliminary version based on the available data reported by NCBs in May and the final one in July.

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