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The AEB defends that Spain has "the best banks in Europe" and rules out contagion by Credit Suisse

MADRID, 16 Mar.

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The AEB defends that Spain has "the best banks in Europe" and rules out contagion by Credit Suisse


The president of the Spanish Banking Association (AEB), Alejandra Kindelán, has defended that Spain has "the best banks in Europe" and has also categorically ruled out that there may be any risk of contagion to Spanish banks regarding the situation that is living Credit Suisse.

"I am more convinced than ever that in Spain we have the best banks in Europe and, possibly, in the world", assured the president of the banking association during her speech at an informative breakfast organized by Nueva Economía Fórum.

In addition, Kindelán has completely ruled out that there could be any kind of consequence in the Spanish banking sector regarding the turbulence that Credit Suisse is experiencing, which this Thursday announced that it will borrow up to 50,000 million francs from the Swiss National Bank (BNS) ( about 50,750 million euros) to strengthen its liquidity in a preventive manner.

"There is absolutely no risk of contagion to Spanish banks. We have been hearing information from Credit Suisse for months, it is a bank that had its difficulties," he stressed, while recalling that Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is a credit institution that "has nothing to do" with the Spanish.

"What is also true is that we are in a moment of great volatility in the markets, with still a lot of uncertainty," Kindelán continued, alluding to the fact that all the European stock markets and all the banks on the continent have experienced declines in recent sessions.

Regarding the current situation, the president of the banking association has stressed the differences between Spanish banks, with a clearly retail business, and the SVB, highly exposed to "a series of companies with the same business model." This caused the bank to be poorly diversified with respect to deposits, something that was added to the fact that it had little credit on its balance sheet.

"So neither on the liability side (...) nor on the asset side (...) you can make any kind of parallelism with our banks here. It is another animal, it is another type of entity. With what which I think we cannot compare", he added.


During his speech at the event, Kindelán highlighted the European regulatory framework, which is different from the American one. In addition, he has also focused on the fact that "after ten years" of zero or negative rates, it is important to have profitable banks at this time.

Thus, the representative of the bank has highlighted the increase experienced by the capital ratios of Spanish and European banks in recent years. "The quality and quantity of capital that we have in Spanish and European banks has improved a lot," she stated.

Asked about the low capital ratios of Spanish banks compared to the rest of European countries, Kindelán indicated that "it is difficult" to compare the type of business of the entities in Spain and how the models affect risk-weighted assets. used internals. In any case, the president of the AEB has defended that the capital levels "compare perfectly" with the rest of Europe, that they are solid and that they "by far" exceed the supervisor's requirements.

In relation to the bill to create the Financial Client Defense Authority, he has insisted on the AEB's position of not considering the creation of this body as the best possible option.

As he did in recent interventions, Kindelán has wondered if it would not have been preferable to improve the mechanisms for resolving claims present in the General Directorate of Insurance, in the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and in the Bank of Spain. He has also criticized that the cost is going to be high and that his financing model, through fees paid by the claimed entities, could be a "very perverse incentive" to claim in excess.


Likewise, the president of the AEB has positively assessed the situation of the banks' balance sheets, since the default "still today is at a minimum". This is, in her opinion, both because the economic slowdown has been less than expected and because employment is holding up well. At the level of the entities, Kindelán has highlighted that "things have been done well", with "good risk management".

On this matter, he stressed that "the important thing" is to comply with the agreement on mortgages, which was a "preventive" agreement to respond to families who may be experiencing problems in assuming increases in their mortgage payments.

In addition, he has defended the "balance" between protecting debtors and the mortgage system, which in the opinion of the president of the employers' association, is a "jewel" that must be "take care of a lot together."

Asked about the differential between the interest charged and that offered for deposits, she has advanced that "possibly 2023 will be the year of normalization" in the remuneration of liabilities. Part of this is because in Spain there is "a lot of competition" in the sector.