Summary: International activities of commercial banks are a potential source for the transmission of shocks across countries. In Europe, bank finance plays a relatively important role, and efforts have been made at creating a level playing field for financial institutions. This paper reviews the stylized facts of the integration of European banking markets and the changing nature of cross-border banking. Although the openness of financial systems has increased, bilateral financial linkages among EU countries remain relatively small. The exception are claims of German banks on a number of smaller countries, and we use these data for an analysis of the determinants of cross-border lending patterns.

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