Europe Banks Vow $1 Trillion Cuts

But selling assets may be difficult in current markets, which could limit shrinkage.

European banks, assuring investors they can weather the sovereign debt crisis by selling assets and reducing lending, may not be able to raise money fast enough to prevent government-forced recapitalizations.

Banks in France, the U.K., Ireland, Germany and Spain have announced plans to shrink by about 775 billion euros ($1.06 trillion) in the next two years to reduce short-term funding needs and comply with tougher regulatory capital requirements, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Morgan Stanley predicts that amount could reach 2 trillion euros across Europe by the end of next year as banks curb lending and sell loans and entire businesses. A lack of buyers and the losses lenders face on loan sales are making those targets unrealistic.

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