In most industries, persistently low profits, fierce competition and downtrodden share prices would meanonly one thing: takeovers. The strongest buy their weaker rivals and the weakest are simply forced out ofbusiness. But not in banking. Or at least not yet.However, the heads of some of Europe’s biggest lenders and their regulators are now talking openly aboutthe need for consolidation. If this happens it would break a barren spell for banking deals stretching backalmost a decade to the financial crisis.“If you think 10 years ahead . . . you can think about the design of the banking sector with less banks,more domestic consolidation and probably a few more pan-European banks,” Frédéric Oudéa, chiefexecutive of France’s Société Générale, told the Financial Times.