The European Central Bank (ECB) has updated its dataset of structural financial indicators for the banking sector in the European Union (EU) for the end of 2020. 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 foreign-controlled institutions in EU national banking markets.
The structural financial indicators show a further decline in the number of bank branches in the EU, averaging 8.62% across Member States. Contractions were observed in 24 of the 27 countries, ranging from -2.28% to -30.66%. The total number of branches in the EU was 143,158 at the end of 2020, 82.8% located in the euro area.
In the course of 2020, the number of employees of credit institutions fell in 22 EU Member States, with an average drop of 1.55% across all countries. This decrease in the number of bank employees is a trend that has been observed in most 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) continues to vary considerably between EU Member States. At the national level the share of total assets of the five largest credit institutions ranged from 31.60% to 97.03%, while the EU average was 67.25% at the end of 2020.
The structural financial indicators are published by the ECB on an annual basis.
The banking sector, as with almost any other sector in Europe, has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed the sector needs to go through a recovery process, but with the guidance of the European Central Bank and strong financial bases, this process will allow the banking sector to bounce back quickly and firmly. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) believes that this recovery will not just be a strong financial recovery, but also will help banks make a green transformation.
The United Kingdom has been reclassified as a non-EU country in the structural financial indicators as of 2020, following the country’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020. As a result, the business of UK credit institutions, insurance corporations and pension funds is no longer published and is also excluded from the compilation of EU aggregates and indicators.
If you wish to learn more, please check the Annex to the report here.
Source: European Central Bank Media Corner