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Banking in Europe - statistics & facts

Since the global financial crisis, the financial condition of the banking sector has become the hot topic in the European public debate. Stable, strong banks are important both in good economic times as well as in bad ones. In good times, they help to finance enterprises which, in turn, drive economic growth and provide employment. In bad times, unstable banks can pose a threat to the integrity of the financial system and damage the economy. In 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic has put to test the regulations imposed after the financial crash for Europe's banking sector.

The growing popularity of online banking

The overall number of banks and credit institutions in the European Union decreased to approximately 5,400 in 2020, from over 8,500 in 2008. A decline in bank branch numbers in Europe has also been noted. The decline in branch banking is frequently linked with the growing popularity of new banking methods, such as online or mobile banking. Globally, the adoption rate of different fintech products by consumers has grown rapidly since 2015.

Which is the largest bank in Europe?

Overall, total assets of banks in Europe have remained fairly stable between 2014 and 2019. The largest bank domiciled on the European market affirmed its strong position in 2020: BNP Paribas, headquartered in Paris, claimed 2.48 trillion euros in total assets, confirming its highest ranking on the European market. The scale was balanced by HSBC (headquartered in London) and Credit Agricole Group (Paris), ranked second and third, both with over 1.8 trillion euros in total assets.

Profitability of banks in Europe

In 2020, across Europe, the loan portfolio of banks continued to improve, thanks in part to the growth in loans granted as well as a decline in non-performing loans. European banks also continued a healthy coverage, with the ratio reaching 46 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Banks also continued an increase in overall profitability, with an average return on equity (RoE) of two percent as of December 2020. Other metrics that measure the profitability of banks include the cost to income ratio (C/I ratio) as well as return on assets (ROA).

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 22 most important statistics relating to "Banking sector in Europe".


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