Cross-border investments and acquisitions by banks occurred mainly between institutions in neighboring countries with linguistic or cultural similarities, according to a report by International Banker, a newsletter published by American Banker.

The newsletter said that, of the 65 fourth-quarter banking mergers, whose value totaled $17.6 billion, a little more than half involved banks in neighboring countries or banks in Western Europe merging with institutions in emerging markets-for example, German banks taking stakes in Polish banks or Spanish banks acquiring Latin American banks.

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