Savings banks not troubled, says industry group

21st February 2008, Comments 0 comments

The chairman of the association of Spain's savings banks, Juan Ramón Quintás, yesterday vigorously rejected claims some lenders are at a stretch in the wake of the US subprime mortgage crisis and resulting credit crunch.

21 February 2008

MADRID - The chairman of the association of Spain's savings banks, Juan Ramón Quintás, yesterday vigorously rejected claims some lenders are at a stretch in the wake of the US subprime mortgage crisis and resulting credit crunch.

"There is no savings bank in a critical or delicate situation," the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks head told a news conference. "We have to send a message of calm to customers. It is true that the future is going to be more uncomfortable, and we don't rule out something going wrong, but it is ridiculous all these insinuations being made about the problems of the savings banks."

With national elections due on 9 March, the opposition Popular Party has accused the Bank of Spain of hiding information about lenders.

"We have 170 years of history and have lived through a number of wars," Quintás. "Things would have to be bad if we weren't able to hold on until 10 March."

However, he acknowledged the savings banks had fewer resources for loans as the wholesale funding market dried up in the wake in the liquidity crisis, without this causing an imbalance.

Quintás said lending by the savings banks increased 17 percent last year, when client resources climbed 15 percent. He predicted growth in credit would move to single-digit levels as demand for loans declined due to an economic slowdown.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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