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2 Spanish banks merge in a difficult period for the financial sector

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The announcement of a deal, which has been in preparation for weeks, could be made in the coming days on the Madrid stock exchange, the person said.

A merger between CaixaBank, the largest bank in the domestic market, and Bankia, Spain’s largest mortgage lender, could herald further consolidation movements in the financial sector.

European banks are going through difficult times amid low interest rates, weighing on their profits on loans, a severe economic recession and uncertainty about the future due to the coronavirus pandemic and the departure of the Kingdom -United European Union.

The Spanish government has welcomed the possible merger, saying the sector needs to consolidate, although it is expected to result in job losses among the combined workforce of more than 50,000 people. The two banks are also focusing on the development of online banking, thereby reducing the need for branch banks.

CaixaBank SA is one of the three big Spanish banks, along with Santander and BBVA. It has more than 35,700 employees and nearly 4,600 offices.

With some 15.6 million customers, Caixabank has more than 44% of the business market involving businesses billing up to 100 million euros ($ 118 million) per year. He reported a profit of 1.7 billion euros ($ 2 billion) last year.

Bankia SA was created in 2010 by the merger of seven Spanish regional savings banks in order to survive the then financial crisis. It is the fourth largest bank in Spain in terms of assets.

Following the government’s bailout in 2012, 61.8% of Bankias shares are state-owned, with the rest traded on the stock exchange. It employs around 15,600 people and made a profit of 541 million euros ($ 638.5 million) last year.

Santander and BBVA have larger international operations than CaixaBank.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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