Three Spanish Catalan banks announce merger
The ninth-biggest Spanish savings bank will be created with the merger of Caixa Sabadell, Caixa Terrassa and Caixa Manlleu.Barcelona – Three savings banks in northeastern Spain said they had agreed to merge at meetings on Tuesday, with the aim of creating the ninth-biggest Spanish savings bank.
The three savings banks, near Barcelona in the Catalonia region, are Caixa Sabadell, Caixa Terrassa and Caixa Manlleu.
The merger aims to create a new and more efficient bank, at a time when many relatively small savings banks in Spain are under pressure from fallout from the financial crisis, mainly because the property market has crashed.
Spanish banks have largely been spared the effects of so-called "subprime" lending activities, but some finance houses and notably small regional savings banks were heavily exposed to the bursting of the Spanish property bubble as the effects of the global crisis spread.
Some of these regional bodies now face a rise of doubtful property loans and a consequent squeeze on their available financial resources.
Other mergers are under consideration, such as one which would bring together three savings banks in Andalucia in the south of the country: Unicaja, Cajasur and Caja de Jaen.
The three banks in Catalonia said in their joint statement: "After the agreements by the boards, a phase for developing the work on integration will begin" covering problems such as branch networks, staff and technology.
The project is due to be completed in September, ready for submission to regulatory authorities.
The statement did not say whether the three banks would seek help from the government by means of a EUR-9-billion fund created in June for the restructuring of the banking sector.
The merger will create the ninth-biggest savings bank in Spain, the statement said.
AFP / Expatica