British banks `will lose out'

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UK BANKS will lose out in the European banking market once Economic and Monetary Union kicks in next year, according to a survey of almost 500 bankers published today, writes John Willcock.

Over three-quarters of those bankers polled by Harris Research for The Banker's Almanac said that the introduction of the euro would lead to further consolidation in the international banking market. Only 35 per cent believe British banks will be winners in this process.

In contrast, 47 per cent believe the French will do well out of the consolidation, and a massive 78 per cent think German banks will come out on top once the euro becomes fully operational on 1 January 1999.

American banks lag the UK only narrowly, with one-fifth of the survey's respondents saying US banks will do well.

The Almanac also did a survey of likely losers in the euro consolidation, and UK banks came second.

Charles Brewer, EMU analyst at ITelligence, an IT business information service, said: "The only real winners will be the big banks."