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Europe not ready for cross-border bank mergers: Santander's Botin

WASHINGTON Oct 7 Europe is not ready for cross-border mergers between banks as several perquisites, from regulatory measures to efficiency gains, are still needed, Santander Executive Chairman Ana Botin said on Friday.

Some regulators and European Central Bank officials have called for more cross-border mergers, arguing that Europe's bloated bank sector must be cut down in size, given weak profitability, poor efficiency and excessive competition.

"I don't think Europe is ready for cross border consolidation... I think politically that's not the path right now," Botin told a conference in Washington.

She added that consolidation within national border is a more likely path for now as a common deposit insurance scheme, political consensus and improved efficiency are all prerequisites for cross border moves. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa)

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