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German financial regulator warns against cross-border bank mergers

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German financial regulator warns against cross-border bank mergers

German financial regulator Bafin does not share the dream of creating "European champions," Felix Hufeld, president of the watchdog, said at a banking conference May 24, according to Handelsblatt.

He was referring to earlier statements by German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his deputy, former Goldman Sachs banker Jörg Kukies, that Germany needs stronger banks.

Scholz and Kukies were said to have played a key role in bringing Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG closer to the idea of a merger. The two banks launched exploratory talks on a potential deal March 17 but broke them off April 24 citing insufficient benefits from a merger.

Commerzbank is still regarded as a takeover target for a foreign institution, with a number of large European players suggested as potential bidders.

The complexities involved in cross-border bank mergers should not be underestimated, Hufeld warned at the conference, according to the report.