May 18, 2021

Bankia SA disappears and the new Caixabank is born


Madrid

Updated:

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Big day at Caixabank. OR «Historical» for Spainrather, as highlighted by its CEO, Gonzalo Gortázar. Today disappears Bankia SA, the entity that best represents the previous economic crisis, and the one that will be the first bank in our country at all levels.

«CaixaBank will have close to 20 million customers in Spain and 623.8 billion euros in total assets, a volume that will make it the largest bank in the domestic market, with a relevant position at the European level, and a market capitalization of more than 20,500 million euros, ”the firm recalled in a statement. Likewise, it will hold the first position in market share of deposits (24%), loans (26%) and long-term savings (29%); will have a presence in around 2,200 municipalities, which it will serve with around 51,000 employees.

Figures from a national banking giant that today sees the light and that on Monday, March 29, it will already be listed as one. Now it will be the turn to summon the unions to negotiate the employment adjustment that will come, which will not be less than 6,000 workers, according to financial sources. Gortázar, at a press conference, stressed that they hope to start the talks after Easter. “We have the work practically finished”, has indicated in relation to its internal calculations, although there is still a few “tweaks” to do.

Restructuring

The calendar they manage to have the negotiation closed is the end of the second quarter, although the CEO has commented that it is “a complex, important process, in which people prevail.” And in relation to these people, the chief executive of Caixabank has ensured that they will try to cut staff in a non-traumatic way, that is, with voluntary departures. In any case, beyond voluntariness, they will seek to “retain the best”, with which criteria of “meritocracy” will also prevail. The intention, apparently, is not that the terminations only affect older workers, as is customary in the sector, in a process that will be carried out in a single phase.

Along with the internal restructuring, the entity of Catalan origin will face all this 2021 the technological integration of Bankia. For now, all customers will be able to make debit withdrawals with their cards from today, without any commission, at the 14,000 ATMs of the total network, as indicated by the firm.

This same weekend and throughout next week the changes of the brand will be made in the main corporate buildings. For example, removing Bankia bills from Kio Towers in Madrid. Likewise, as the new president José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has pointed out, they expect to have the Caixabank brand fully implemented in the entire branch network by June-July. Step by step to leave only a brand and a logo in the coming months.

Changes for the customer

“There is a lot of work ahead,” explained Gortázar. Among those jobs will be converge on trade policy, with the best practices and products of both entities. And with one objective, as Goirigolzarri has highlighted: “I would like to make it clear what the purpose of this merger is: to be closer to and support Spanish companies and families, and to support society to get out of this health crisis that we are experiencing.” Caixabank has also confirmed that current accounts and savings books will change their numbering, but that customers will not have to carry out any management, nor will the changes affect direct debits, transfers, or payments received.

It has been six months of very hard work, as the new president has recognized, in a merger by absorption that has culminated exactly in the deadlines that were given from the beginning. The merger pact was presented in September, in December it was approved at two general shareholders’ meetings, and these months the required authorizations have been received from the various regulators and supervisors. First quarter of 2021 have the operation executed in legal terms, as they maintained from the beginning.

Just three days ago the endorsement of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), although with conditions. The institution has imposed Caixabank certain permanence requirements in some regions, as well as the maintenance of conditions, in order to avoid problems given its monopoly situation in certain territories and the risk of financial exclusion.

Public participation

In the new Caixabank, the State will have a 16.1% stake, compared to the 61.8% it held in Bankia. Its control over a financial institution is diluted after joining the bank of Catalan origin, where the La Caixa Foundation, through the Criteria holding, will remain the main shareholder with around 30% of the share capital.

The FROBAs a representative of the State, however, it does gain weight in the entity’s day-to-day life. Teresa Santero, who was Secretary General of Industry with Zapatero, will occupy a position on the board of directors. A relevant change given that at Bankia the FROB did not have any seat on the governing body. Just a month ago the Government decided to extend the deadline to leave Bankia, in this case already from the new Caixabank, until the end of 2023. Two more years compared to what was planned so far. Goirigolzarri, asked about how the State will sell its stake, has referred to the FROB and the Executive about the plans to sell that 16.1%.

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