The president of Bankia, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, prepares in Valencia the shareholders meeting to be held this Friday. About to complete the seven years in office, the first executive of the public bank (the State has 61.4%), sent a clear message to the new Government that comes out of the elections. "I think that it should act as impeccably as the previous ones and avoid any temptation to use Bankia with political influences, with interference, or as a public bank, I think the major parties agree with this analysis and believe that this is the way to act" , has indicated. Among the political groups, We can only ask that Bankia become a public bank to help out of the crisis the most harmed.
In a meeting with the media, Goirigolzarri has considered that this independence in management "encourages the creation of value", that is, that actions on the stock market rise, and asked that keep the idea of completely privatizing Bankia "taking into account the market conditions". "If you were to ask me if now is the time to sell the shares of the State, I would clearly say no because the sector is being heavily penalized ".
However, he warned that the situation can be complicated for all if the ECB does not move card. "A situation of low interest rates permanently is an element that encourages mergers clearly," he explained, to emphasize that "if this scenario continues for two or three years, more mergers will be seen." He explained that low rates press the reduction of operating expenses and unions are presented as the best way to obtain synergies and raise the low profitability of the sector. He discarded intra-European mergers for the moment because they do not have the same advantages as national ones. He relented some recent reports from different experts that pointed out that there would only be six relevant banks in Spain: "It is normal that they want to generate business," he concluded.
Asked about the possibilities of making new purchases, after the acquisition of Murcian bank BMN, the president of Bankia has rejected it in a categorical way. "We do not study any operation, there is nothing on the table, if we had an excess of capital we would not use it to buy another entity but we would return it to the shareholders", he indicated. He also pointed out, in a more veiled manner, that he did not expect a purchase transaction by Bankia for a third party.
Maintains benefits and dividends
Goirigolzarri has explained that while The European Central Bank (ECB) keeps interest rates low, the valuation of Bankia (and the rest of European entities) will remain low. He pointed out that US banking has risen between 30% and 40% since 2008, while European banking has fallen by 60% since that date due to the situation of the economy, interest rates and regulations, which is more loose on the other side of the Atlantic.
Bankia presented a strategic plan for 2018, 2019 and 2020 with a high increase in profit, to 1,300 million in the third year, and the promise to distribute 2,500 million in dividends in the three-year period. When he advanced these forecasts, the expectations of the rates were higher than now. However, Goirigolzarri has said that the public entity will not reduce profit or dividend targets "thanks to the greater commercial drive we are having, which is allowing us to gain market share in consumer loans, investment funds and in the business with companies. "
The president of the entity has indicated that there was no rise in the prices of loans or mortgages, despite the entry into force of the new mortgage law: "We keep prices unchanged". It has also ruled out the closing of offices, "except for specific operations for the progress of business digitalization", and the reduction of staff." For the first time since 2010 we have increased the staff of the offices by 150 people. We look to the future with optimism, "he revealed.
He was optimistic about the progress of the economy to describe as "vigorous" the growth of the Spanish economy, "close to 2% this year", higher than the European average, he said, although it has already suffered a slowdown over past years. He recalled, for example, that consumer loans are rising by 28% in Bankia and expect to lend some 1,000 million to developers, compared to 400 million in 2018.