The acting first vice president of the Government, Nadia Calviño, met this Monday with the main swords of the financial sector and insisted that they must improve the profitability offered by savings. In the middle of the race to preside over the European Investment Bank (EIB), Calviño has given them one of lime and another of sand: on the one hand, he has once again demanded an effort from the entities in paying for the liabilities, while on the other another has highlighted the importance of having a competitive supply of credit to households and companies to boost the country’s economy. Of course, the slap on the wrist has been somewhat less than on other occasions: “In recent weeks we have seen that deposits have begun to be remunerated,” she said in an interview on Onda Cero.
The also Minister of Economic Affairs has seated the leading swords of Spanish banking at a table: the presidents Ana Botín (Banco Santander), Carlos Torres (BBVA) and José Ignacio Goirigolzarri (CaixaBank), Josep Oliu (Banco Sabadell), Antón Arriola (Kutxabank), Juan Carlos Escotet (Abanca) and Luis Rodríguez (Cajamar), as well as the CEOs María Dolores Dancausa (Bankinter) and Víctor Iglesias (Ibercaja). Before them, the vice president has valued the contribution of the sector. And she has addressed the impact of the ECB’s interest rate hikes on families and companies, as well as the opportunity of the arrival of European funds.
There were some notable absences from the meeting. The main one, that of the president of Unicaja, Manuel Azuaga, who was scheduled to be at the meeting, but could not arrive due to the railway cuts derived from the abundant rainfall of the dana in Spain. There were also no representatives of the Bank of Spain, who were not cited, according to government sources. Other absences regarding other appointments have been the bank employers AEB, CECA and Unacc, as well as consumer associations.
The meeting, according to a statement issued by the ministry, was held “within the framework of constant dialogue with the sector, to review the situation and prospects of the Spanish economy, to share the opportunity that the arrival of European funds represents for the sector. and convey to them the progress made in the European legislative files in the financial field and other priorities during the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU,” he noted in the note.
It should be remembered that in the last meeting with the sector, where he met with the employers and not with the main leaders of the bank, the strategy on the remuneration of deposits made them ugly. And he even announced the commission to the CNMC of a study on why they did not pay more for family savings. A dynamic that, according to the vice president, is changing.
At this Monday’s meeting, the operation of the Code of Good Practices was also addressed, both the updated one and the one created temporarily, given the increase in the cost of variable mortgages and the blow that it represents for vulnerable families due to the new monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB). An issue that, in principle, will be discussed again with the employers of the sector at the end of the month.
“In the meeting it was verified that the system maintains low levels of arrears and non-payments [la tasa se situó en el 3,5% en junio, según el supervisor], thanks to the good progress of the economy and employment and the solvency of companies. The ministry is working with the Bank of Spain to analyze the application of the different mechanisms available and improve the protection of families affected by the rise in mortgages, while continuing to guarantee financial stability,” highlighted the department that it directs. Calvino.
On the other hand, Economy highlights that the good evolution of the Spanish economy has been valued at the meeting. “In a complex international context, marked by uncertainty and global slowdown, Spain is performing differently thanks to the reforms and investments of the Recovery Plan, the measures adopted against inflation and the dynamism of the foreign sector,” says Economía in your statement. Of course, later in his interview on Onda Cero he has recognized that the end of the year will not be easy. “Spain cannot be isolated from the slowdown in the European economy and this will clearly mark us in the coming months.”
What the ministry does not include in its note is any reference to the possibility of extending the extraordinary tax on banks beyond 2024. A possibility that Calviño herself raised last week in an interview with SER: “To the extent that If there are extraordinary benefits, it will have to be considered. But we are going to see how the economic situation continues to evolve, the budgetary situation and how the benefits of the banking sector continue to evolve”.
Channeling of European funds
On the other hand, the vice president has underlined the opportunity that the execution of the Recovery Plan “for the transformation of the productive fabric” represents for the financial sector and for Spain. And she has winked at them with the key role that banks can play in channeling these European funds to companies.
“It has been agreed to work together to launch before the end of the year an efficient mechanism for channeling loans from European Next Generation funds provided for in the Addendum to the Recovery Plan, currently pending approval by the European institutions,” explains Economía. .
The meeting also discussed the main European legislative files in the economic and financial field, led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the context of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. “The reform of fiscal rules and the various draft financial services regulations have been addressed.”
Thus, during the first two months of the Spanish presidency “the first agreements have already been reached and notable progress is being made in various files such as the Due Diligence Directive or the Instant Payment Regulation”, highlights the ministry’s note. In addition, it highlights other key files for the financial sector that are being promoted, such as the reform of the regulation of services and means of payment in Europe, the improvement of the resolution framework for banking entities in the EU or the legislative proposals to complete the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union.
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