Across the eurozone, governments have had to step in and prop up the banking sector.
But rescuing banks is expensive and has added to investor concerns that European countries’ debt loads are becoming increasingly unsustainable.
Many banks also have drastically cut back their business, lending to fewer companies and households and ditching investments in other eurozone countries — especially in Greece, Italy and Spain.
As well as freezing up the eurozone’s economy, this retrenchment has undermined one of the primary purposes of the single currency — to allow money to flow freely and cheaply across national borders.
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