The number of banks and financial institutions in the euro area continued to decline in 2013, falling by 3.8 percent from the figure in 2012, the European Central Bank said on Tuesday.
"On January 1, 2014 there were 6,790 MFIs (monetary financial institutions) resident in the euro area, compared with 7,059 on January 1, 2013," the ECB said in a statement.
The drop was sharpest in Cyprus, where the number of MFIs dropped by 26 percent, followed by a decline of 17 percent in Greece and 16 percent in Luxembourg, the central bank calculated.
Over the longer term, the number of financial institutions in the single currency area has declined by 31 percent since January 1, 1999, despite the enlargement of the eurozone with the accession of Greece in 2001, Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011 and Latvia in 2013, the statement said.
The region's economic powerhouses, Germany and France, accounted for 42 percent of all euro area MFIs, approximately the same share as recorded a year ago, the ECB added.
Looking at the wider European Union, there were 8,746 MFIs resident in the EU on January 1, 2014, a net decrease of 330 units or 3.6 percent since January 1, 2013.
Compared with the situation on January 1, 1999, when there were 10,909 MFIs in the EU, there has been a net decrease of 2,163 units or 20 percent, the ECB said. [AFP]