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Financial Integration and Cross-Border Banking Mergers in the European Union

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  1. A brief overview of the banking sector in the European Union
  2. The reasons why Cross-border banking mergers do not work in the European Union
  3. Future prospects regarding Cross-border banking mergers in the European Union

On March 30, 2005, the Dutch bank ABN Amro launched a bid to acquire the small Padua-based Italian bank Antonveneta. ABN Amro clearly had a number of reasons to make such an offer: it was trying to expand its activities in the European Union through mergers and acquisitions, while the Italian market showed good prospects of growth and was highly profitable due to high banking fees. Moreover, Antonveneta did not seem hostile to this bid: ABN Amro already controlled 4 out of the 15 seats of its board and merging with one of the biggest banks in the European Union could only help Antonveneta achieve its growth and profitability objectives. However, ABN Amro's plans did not quite go as expected, since Lodi's bank, a very small Italian bank, made another offer to acquire Antonveneta, mainly because, according to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gianpiero Fiorani, "Italian banks must remain in Italian hand1".

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