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The Promise of Bank Mergers

In a difficult market, mergers – by enabling banks to cut costs, share information-technology platforms, and increase market power, thereby relieving pressure on margins and rebuilding capital – make sense. And a difficult market is precisely what Europe's banks face today.

BARCELONA – The banking business has fallen on hard times. The combination of persistent low interest rates, increasing regulatory compliance costs, and the rise of new competitors taking advantage of financial technologies (fintech for short) has produced, in Europe in particular, excess capacity and low profitability – and a strong temptation to merge.