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Number of EU, eurozone banks in decline

FRANKFURT, Jan 14, 2011 – The number of eurozone and EU banks fell further in 2010, the European Central Bank said Friday, with France showing the biggest drop of 92 institutions.

France also had the steepest decline in relative terms with a fall of 7.1 percent, while the eurozone as a whole lost 2.6 percent of its banks as a total of 211 monetary financial institutions (MFI) bit the dust, the ECB data showed.

On January 1, the 17-nation bloc hosted 7,856 MFIs, which include central banks, commercial banks, savings banks, post office banks and credit unions, a statement said.

It did not give a reason for the decline but noted it continued a trend that began with central bank records in 1999 and has only been interrupted temporarily by the admission of new eurozone member countries.

For the 27-member European Union, the ECB reported a total of 9,921 resident MFIs on January 1, down 2.7 percent from the same date a year earlier.

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