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Eurozone banks reducing US exposure, figures show

Banks based in the eurozone have significantly scaled-back their operations in the US since the onset of the global economic downturn, a new study has revealed.

Analysis conducted by the Financial Times using data from the Federal Reserve (Fed) and published today (23 July) found that financiers in the euro area have cut their American assets by more than 33 per cent over the course of the last five years.

In September 2007, eurozone lenders held some $1.51 trillion worth of assets across the Atlantic, but this figure has gradually slipped by $540 billion since then to a level of less than $1 trillion.

Indeed, the most recent figures available from the Fed from March 2012 revealed total holdings in the country were down to their lowest total since 2005.

Doug Landy, partner at Allen & Overy, told the Financial Times: "It's more like a return to what the European banks looked like ten or 20 years ago, when their balance sheets were more modest and much more plain vanilla."

By Gary Cooper