"It was a tough situation, my biggest concern was to give the clients peace of mind, in fact, the first thing I did when I arrived was a statement to the media so that the depositors would not lose confidence ... it was a tremendous situation and I made clear the the bank's viability and that we had the state behind it, I was worried about the lack of confidence of our clients and our people because if the employees were not calm, they would end up transmitting it, Bankia could be transformed by the trust of the clients ". With this hard words José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, President of Bankia, explained how his first days were in the entity, in May 2012, when he feared a flight of deposits, which totaled 125,000 million in the entity balance, an amount impossible to replace for the State.
Goirigolzarri has also admitted that he made the first decisions "with the Bankia tower surrounded by preferentistas", which were his second problem after the depositors. "Nothing that we lived was normal, it was a situation that I have never experienced in my more than 40 years of experience ", the president emphasized. He added that in this environment he had to request the resignation of all the directors of Bankia and its parent BFA, prepare and deliver the information that was missing from the auditor Deloitte so that he could analyze the accounts and create new accounts for 2011. The president did not specify exactly what information was missing from Deloitte because he said he did not remember it, but that he knew that Bankia's accounts had been delivered to the CNMV without being audited due to Deloitte's refusal due to lack of data.
The president of Bankia, whose surname was not well pronounced by the president of the court, before the smile of the witness, has also explained that in the new team that formed on his arrival on May 9, 2012 was composed of only four people. "From my experience, I know that it is not good to make a large landing of managers when you get to a bank because the chances of promotion of talented people are frustrated," he said. If he dispensed with the former financial director Ildefonso Sánchez Barcoj and the former director of internal audit, Miguel Angel Soria, because the result of his previous activity in "was not enough to continue relying on them, to put it in a fine way".
This was indicated during his appearance as a witness on Wednesday in the trial for the Bankia IPO in July 2011 held at the National Court of San Fernando de Henares (Madrid), where on the contrary he highlighted the "professionalism" "of the former delegate of the entity Francisco Verdú Pons, opinion that he had before reaching Bankia" and now I keep it "and of the exinterventor general, Sergio Durá, whom he did keep on his team. Goirigolzarri avoided making serious accusations against the former Bankia team, including Rato. The president justified his team presenting its accounts with heavy losses in 2011, compared to the previous benefits of the Rato era, due to the severe change in economic circumstances.
Three conversations with Rato
According to Goirigolzarri, who before reaching Bankia the former CEO of BBVA, had three conversations with Rodrigo Rato, then president of Bankia. A first in 2011 (whose date does not remember) in which he offered to be a director and rejected because he was in a period of non-competition with BBVA, a second a couple of weeks before his final incorporation, in which he offered be a CEO, and the third on May 7, 2012 in which he agreed to be the group's president, to finally be appointed two days later by the BFA board and the Bankia board.
Before making this decision, Goirigolzarri acknowledged that he had a conversation with Luis de Guindos, then Minister of Economy. Between May 7 and 9 he reported that he spoke with members of the Bank of Spain and the FROB, the rescue fund.
As for the knowledge he had then of the entity, Goirigolzarri has explained that he had what he could get from the media. "He knew and knew the problems of the Spanish banking system, he knew Bankia's problems from the outside, the famous IMF report, he knew that some accounts had been presented to the CNMV that were not audited and he knew the rumors in the market, but direct information did not have, "he has indicated.
In this way, Goirigolzarri came to the chairmanship of Bankia with two "concrete and urgent" objectives: to have audited 2011 accounts and present to the Banco de España a capitalization and reorganization plan that had been requested by letter.
Throughout his statement, the expert banker did make it clear that the very strong deterioration of the situation in Spain came between February and May 2012, when the economy fell by 3%, the valuation of banks on the stock market deteriorated by 40% and unemployment exceeded 20%. For this environment, "which came after two increases in consecutive interest rates by the ECB, indicating that the economy was going to recover, something that clearly did not happen," said Goirigolzarri, reissued Bankia accounts assessing these circumstances, although it was about closing the 2011 balance.
Another issue on which Goirigolzarri insisted was that he never admitted political interference. "For me it was vital to improve the corporate governance of the entity and we could not form a new council with political influence." None of the three finance ministers, both of the PP and the current PSOE, have tried to influence and would not have admitted, "he said.