Big six banks have lost EUR 36.7bn since August
Spain's six largest banks have lost almost a fifth of their stock market value since the subprime crisis and ensuing international credit crunch began.19 March 2008
MADRID - Spain's six largest banks have lost almost a fifth of their stock market value since the subprime crisis and ensuing international credit crunch began last 9 August even though the country's bankers and the central bank have remained adamant that they have no direct exposure to bad debt products.
In the last eight months, Santander, BBVA, Popular, Sabadell, Bankinter and Banesto have watched as EUR 36.7 billion has been wiped off their share values as the global financial sector has come under suspicion. But even as the liquidity crisis continues worldwide and Spain's economy slows, bankers here are convinced they face few serious risks. "The number of people not repaying loans is increasing in line with the direction of the economy but it would be hard for it to reach unmanageable levels," a spokesman for the banking industry association AEB says.
[Copyright El Pais / CLAUDI PÉREZ 2008]