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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

The Banksters
Saturday, May 11, 2024 @ 10:04 PM

And how are our friends the banks doing?

The banks used to – vaguely and no-doubt erroneously – be thought to be more of a service for citizens than their current behaviour - a kind of inspiration for the vultures, hyenas and other consumers of the dead, dying and the weak.

The banks make their money from the manager’s office rather than the teller’s desk, as the widow’s mite is placed into the drawer where it will start to earn interest – only, not for the widow, poor dear, but - down the line - for the share-holders. 

The bank isn't that interested. Small beer doesn’t make you a major player. You need some big investors with stories of major profits ahead.

So how did the banks become so unpopular? Less branches, more commissions and a diminishing service.

Now we have the case of the hostile bid from the second-largest bank in Spain towards the fourth. It started friendly enough, but the smaller bank said it wasn’t a high-enough offer. All this, right now, during the frenzy of the Catalonian elections. That fourth largest bank, that’s from Sabadell in Catalonia (although their head-office these days is safely in Alicante) with 19,213 slightly worried employees.

The putative pirate, the Borg as it were, is the BBVA (the name is an amalgam of distant banks). The head office is in Bilbao, and there are 121,486 employees. The president of the BBVA is Carlos Torres and last year he took home 7.6 million euros (not much by the standards of Amancio Ortega, who expects to pocket some 3,000 million euros in 2024, but still enough to keep the wolf from the door).

And those shareholders: wealthy leeches who can’t even claim a loyalty towards the company whose paper they hold, the employees, the traditions and the products it makes.

Although, of course it’s true that the banks only make the one product. Money.

My bank (I’ll send you my account details by separate cover) is a lot smaller. It’s one of those Cajas that used to be run by the Church.

These days, of course, it maintains a stand just inside the Cathedral door in case the Messiah returns unexpectedly.

But for the rest of us, it takes our moolah, charges us for the pleasure, and makes its real money from investments, projects, deals, the resale of homes it has expropriated from those who couldn’t meet the mortgage, and other worthwhile and marvellous devices too numerous to mention.

The politicians (well, those who don’t plan a future in la banca) are against the merger. There will be less banks. There aren’t many already with Santander, BBVA, Caixabank and Sabadell being the Big Four and taking up, between them, 75% of all deposits and, if there’s a fusion, why, there’ll be even less competition.

Fewer branches too. The widow will have to take a bus to get to the nearest counting-house.

Oddly, my bank was burgled over the May-day holiday. Two weeks later, it’s still shut.  

Like 3


PablodeRonda said:
Sunday, May 12, 2024 @ 6:22 AM

Lenox. You are so right about Spanish banks. They are a disgrace nowadays. I've written about them too on eyeonspain:

You can no longer bank on your bank!
Spanish Banks – What EyeOnSpain readers think

For some reason html is not allowed in comments, but interested readers should be able to locate them. They were both written by The Curmudgeon.

lenox said:
Sunday, May 12, 2024 @ 6:30 AM

After I wrote the above, I found this headline from El Mundo: ‘Banco Santander, in favour of the BBVA's takeover bid for Sabadell: "It makes sense and it benefits shareholders"’. Well, that’s all right then.

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