Banks Without Borders

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP-GETTY IMAGES

OPEN ARMS: Botín, left, and Arnold announce the merger in London

Ever since the euro was introduced in 1999, financial experts have predicted that it would lead to the sweeping, Continent-wide consolidation of many European industries, particularly the crowded banking sector. The dream was that a single European currency would leap over national priorities and prompt banks to reach across borders for merger partners, the better to compete with America's megabanks.

But a funny thing happened on the way to banking consolidation: nothing. Except for a few small deals, such as the 2000 takeovers of Bank Austria by Munich-based HVB, and Unidanmark by Swedish-Finnish lender MeritaNordbanken, banks have preferred...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!