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Lionel Laurent

Draghi Wants Fewer Banks. Good Luck With That!

Barriers to deals in Europe include a hawkish ECB regulator.

Europe is over-banked. Mario Draghi knows it; John Cryan knows it; even Twitter knows it. So it's a shame that euro zone bank mergers still look so painful.

There's clearly little appetite out there to take supply out of the region's approximately 6,000-firm banking sector, even if it would mitigate the pain of negative rates and sluggish economies. Just look at how few deals there have been recently. This year, completed transactions targeting a Western European bank stand at a grand total of $132.2 million, a drop of almost 99 percent year-on-year, according to Bloomberg data. The volume of deals involving North American and western European banks in the past six years has been less than half that of the previous six, according to Bloomberg News.