The senior executive vice-president of commercial banking at Banco Santander, Enrique García Candelas, predicts that his bank, together with CaixaBank and BBVA, will hold a market share of 70% after the restructuring of the Spanish financial sector(1). This prediction, which is the first to be made public, is based on the assumption that Spain’s three biggest banking institutions will be left with the three nationalised banks: Bankia, CatalunyaBanc and Novagalicia. According to top executives at Santander, CaixaBank and BBVA, their banks have a combined market share of 38%. The nationalised banks are thought to have 15% of the market, bringing the aggregate total to 53%, still 17 percentage points short of the 70% predicted by Mr García Candelas.
‘This will happen faster than the market expects,’ anticipated the senior executive of Banco Santander in his speech at the 20th Financial Sector Meeting. He explained that this would lead to Banco Santander holding between 13% and 14% of branches in Spain, with BBVA’s share expected to rise to 11% and that of CaixaBank further still. ‘The banking sector will become highly concentrated within the next two or three years. It will be a clear opportunity to make more money. When the accounts have been normalised, with cost savings and lower provisions, we will make a lot more money,’ he concluded.
This view was shared by Jaime Sáenz de Tejada, director of the Spain and Portugal business unit of BBVA Group, and Juan Antonio Alcaraz, general director of business for CaixaBank, both of whom also spoke at the conference. The senior executive of Banco Santander also predicted that the sector would be shaped by some seven or eight banks at the end of the adjustment process.
Does the Commission not think that granting state aid to banks might unduly distort competition?
Does the Commission believe that this concentration and restriction on the number of banks might reduce competition and lead to abuses of dominant position?
Does the Commission not think that this concentration of the Spanish banking sector might be detrimental to consumers?