European Elections: Challenges Ahead for EU Banks

In the midst of remarkable performance by EU bank stocks, the sector may face challenges as the European elections approach, with the unresolved issue of a common deposit guarantee policy.
European banks have seen robust growth, fueled by increased trading activity and high investment bank revenues. The Euro Stoxx banking index (SX7E) has surged by 19%, while the Euro Stoxx 600 index (SXXP) has risen by nearly 9% this year. The index has also outperformed its American counterpart, the SPDR Select Sector Fund (XLF), which has risen by 9% since the beginning of the year. Factors contributing to this performance include higher-than-expected earnings from major banks in the first quarter. However, the upcoming European elections could bring uncertainties to the sector. It will be up to the new leaders in place to address the issue of a common deposit guarantee policy, which has been raised once again.

**European Union Banks, EU Elections, Deposit Guarantee, European Banking Sector, Bank Stocks**

European Banking Union Remains Unfinished

In April, the European Parliament approved a plan to establish a common deposit insurance fund for banks in the European Union (EU). This measure follows increased risks in the banking system after the collapse of American regional banks and the bankruptcy of Credit Suisse last year. The plan aims to create a broader European deposit insurance system to implement a common protection in this area.
European leaders have acknowledged the need to establish a banking union in response to the global financial crisis in 2008, aiming to strengthen the stability and integrity of the banking system within the European Union (EU), especially in the euro area. The common deposit insurance system, initiated in 2015, is one of the three pillars of the European Banking Union. While the first two pillars were implemented in 2013 and 2014, the common deposit insurance system remains controversial and a barrier to cross-border bank unity.

**European Parliament, Deposit Insurance Fund, European Banking Union, Financial Stability, Cross-Border Banks**

Positive Results for EU Banks in Q1

European banks have made significant progress since the European debt crisis between 2008 and 2012. According to a Bloomberg report, 71% of European banks exceeded market expectations when reporting their first-quarter results this year.
Spanish banks have shown particular strength, benefiting from higher interest rates and increased revenues. The country’s banks have improved efficiency over the past decade through workforce cuts and branch reductions. The revenue of Spain’s largest lender, Santander, jumped by 10% in the first three months of the year, while its main competitor, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, saw a gross income increase of 18% in the same quarter.

**European Banks, Banking Sector, Market Expectations, Spanish Banks, Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria**

Future Risks

Despite maintaining growth momentum, potential risks loom on the horizon, with uncertainty surrounding the outcomes of the European elections. The systemic stability of banks could be at stake, as no integrated solution is in sight to address any potential banking panic scenarios.

**European Banks, Risk Management, Systemic Stability, European Elections, Banking Sector**