The more you look at the numbers, the scarier it gets. Fifteen European banks now have assets - and liabilities, too, although bankers don't like phrasing it that way - larger than their home economies. That compares with ten such lenders three years ago. In Britain, for example, Barclays' balance sheet alone is bigger than the country's entire annual output.
In a nutshell, the number of lenders that are 'too big to fail' has risen sharply. And that means that the scope for something else to go drastically wrong is growing, not shrinking. We haven't learned a thing from the blow-up of 2008. "What we have been doing in the last two years is making banks much bigger", says David Lascelles at the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation. "We are sowing the seeds for the next crisis".
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