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Summary
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Europe’s banks: Verging on Merging
So far, limited synergies among European banks have made it difficult to negotiate cross-border mergers. Although the obstacles to them are disappearing only gradually, pressure from shareholders is likely to force banks to merge even before the obstacles have vanished. To clarify the cross-border strategies of banks and to help them plan successful mergers, the authors have visualized an ideal European banking landscape once these obstacles are gone, perhaps in ten years—a landscape including the types of banks that will thrive and the number of institutions in each category. In this future, specialists in regional distribution, pan-European product development, and global or pan-European wholesale banking will probably dominate. They will be supported by huge regulated monopolies providing the necessary infrastructure, such as payment platforms and stock exchanges.

The take-away: European banks that choose their potential specialties now are more likely to find the right merger partners and to stay in the top league in the long term.
  


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