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General

25 eurozone banks flunk ECB health test

media European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Vitor Constancio attends a news conference at the ECB in Frankfurt October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Twenty five euro zone banks failed a landmark health check of their ability to withstand another economic crisis with a capital shortfall of 25 billion euros at the end of last year, the ECB said on Sunday. None of the failing banks were world lenders.

Nearly one in five eurozone banks is still on shaky financial foundations, the ECB said Sunday. This, after 25 lenders failed a crunch audit supposed to prevent a repeat of the crisis that nearly led to the euro's collapse in 2008.

A total 25 of the 130 banks flunked the audit, the ECB said, although none of them were among world leaders.

The worst results were concentrated in Italy, where some nine banks failed, as well as Greece and Cyprus with three each.

The Italian banks included Banca Monte des Paschi -- the country's third biggest -- and Banca Popolare di Milano.

In Germany, the small Muenchener Hypothekenbank failed, and in France it was the little-known CRH Caisse de refinancement de l'habitat that flunked.

The banks showed a combined capital shortfall of 25 billion euros as at the end of last year.

Those with shortfalls must prepare capital plans within two weeks and have up to nine months to cover the gaps.

The ECB, which is under pressure to ensure the audit is tougher and more credible than previous pan-European stress tests, praised it as "robust, unprecedented in scale and among the most stringent worldwide".

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