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European regulation: Banks need union for profitability

The drive to integrate the European banking system has taken a back seat as regulators have become concerned at the lack of profitability in the sector. Can banking in the EU be sustainable without union and with so much onerous regulation?


Europe’s two most ambitious financial projects, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union, have suffered a string of setbacks stemming from uneven growth across the continent, a baroque legislative process, global political uncertainty and, of course, the EU’s impending divorce from the UK. Many in the industry blame the lack of progress on those plans for the pallid state of European banking today.

“We have all the responsibilities of a banking union and none of the privileges,” a senior financial services professional tells Euromoney.

Perhaps it is no surprise in a year when centrifugal politics consistently threatened to tear up the rulebook – most notably in Europe and the US – that policies sharing the flavour of federalism should take a back seat.

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