The Ibex 35, the main selective of the Spanish stock market, was dragged this Thursday by the black day of the banks. The day ended with a drop of 1.2%. The drop list was led by Sabadell, which lost 6.7%. It was followed by Bankinter (fell by 6.27%), Bankia (5.11%), CaixaBank (4.54%), BBVA (2.70%) and Santander (2.05%). Among all, they lost almost 5.900 million euros of stock market value in a single session.
The entities received the news confused. Sources of several banks assured shortly after knowing the sentence that they needed to study it, because it was completely contrary to the judicial decision of February, of the same court but of another room, and that freed them to pay the tribute. A few hours later, the AEB and the CECA made a joint statement. They rushed to remember that it is not a money that they charged to customers, but it is a tax that the communities collect. "The banks have always complied with the current regulations approved more than 20 years ago and with the reiterated jurisprudence of the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, unanimous, and maintained until very recent dates."
They did not want to assess the possibility of applying the sentence retroactively and that they will have to pay a large amount of money. And they assured that, from now on, they will be in charge of paying that tax. But they did show their dissatisfaction with the rules of the game that have changed in just seven months: "From the main banking associations we demand from the public authorities greater legal security and clear and predictable rules for the mortgage market."
The entities said Thursday that they "will comply with the new criteria established by the Supreme Court." That is, they will be responsible for paying the tax of documented legal acts to register the mortgage. They assume the cost, but industry sources warn that if banks find it more expensive to lend money, they transfer it to the client in the form of loans with higher interest rates. The entities already warned the government, when it threatened to put a new tax for them months ago, that any extra cost would be passed on to the clients.
Doubts about possible costs
On the stock exchange, many investors fled before the possible cost of this new judicial front. How much can the bill amount? It depends on whether there is retroactivity or not. And if there were, if it would be four years (what remain alive for the purposes of claim taxes and income tax returns) or, even, for all mortgages alive.
The banking client association Asufin estimated that in the most extreme case the litigation could cost 24,000 million. In March, in a Moody's report, he pointed out that a judicial coup of this caliber could amount to 4,000 million. Other law firms and analysts, taking as a reference that in four years have signed 1.1 million mortgage loans, say that the amount would be around 3,000 million and the Kepler firm fixed it at 6,000 million. Financial sources explained that, in any case, the entities will have to go to the supervisor to know whether or not they should provide a specific amount, according to the risk that the judgment may entail.
On the other hand, legal sources of the banks assure that there is no possible retroactivity. "The law of contentious-administrative jurisdiction says that final judgments that annul a provision of a general nature will have general effects from the day it is published its ruling," they said. And if the case is decided that there is retroactivity, they said that those affected should go to claim the Autonomous Treasury, since they paid that tax there. And if the Treasury later claims the money from the banks? According to their criterion, it would be to demand the tax from the person who was not a taxable person, according to the regulation in force at the time of the liquidation. So they would fight to the end with resources