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José María Méndez, CEO of CECA
SPECIAL 36th-ANNIVERSARY SUPPLEMENT
We are experiencing major changes on a global scale, and all changes bring about uncertainty. Manoeuvring these changes is always a complex task, and on many occasions requires unorthodox changes to be put in place. However, this should not lead us astray from our objectives, and from getting back on track as soon as possible.
The European Banking Authority publishes the results of its European banking transparency exercise corresponding to 2016. It objective is to carry out a review of the health of the participating institutions and provide information to the market regarding their financial situation.
The companies that emerged from former savings banks set aside 717.3 million euros for Obra Social projects in 2015, 1% more than a year previously. Every year for the last 13 years Actualidad Económica has recognised this tremendous work with the awarding of prizes for the best community and financial education projects, which are carried out together with CECA.
Actualidad Económica identifies the most outstanding initiatives carried out by the companies that emerged from former savings banks in the categories of social action, training, local development, the promotion of job creation, financial education, culture, environment and sport.
In 2015, the programmes of these institutions were funded to the tune of 717.3 million euros, 1% more than in 2014, which shows how the trend has changed after the crisis.
European retail banking warns the ECB of the negative impact sustained low interest rates are starting to have on the financial sector and clients. They have also criticised increased 'overregulation'.
In our country, CECA, which represents 38% of the Spanish financial system, has been in close contact with ISBI from its founding in 1928 and is currently a WSBI member. «Raising public awareness on the importance of saving both in terms of the growth of economies as well as personal well-being is the objective of the meeting», stated those responsible for the national organisation.
The Spanish and German associations of savings banks, CECA and DGSV, have met with the association of small businesses (Cepyme) and the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) to discuss the role of the credit institutions in the financing of SMEs in Europe.
The Obra Social of former savings banks grew last year for the first time since 2008. In 2015 they allocated an overall amount of 717.3 million euros, 1.05% more than the previous year, which means a rise in investment that has not been seen since 2008. This positive evolution is explained by the improvement that the economy has experienced, the progressive diversification of companies' income sources, and the plans implemented to improve the efficiency of their structures.
Last year, former savings banks increased their investment in Obras Sociales for the first time since the beginning of the crisis. In 2015, the country's banking foundations and savings banks spent a total of 717.385 million euros on programmes of this kind, 1.05% more than in the previous year, according to the "2015 Obra Social Report" by the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA), which ABC has been able to access.
Banks request that the regulatory framework be finalised immediately, and demand equality of rules for digital operators.
The banking sector faces the great challenge of improving its profitability in an environment in which low interest rates and competition from new digital operators reduce its income. That is why one of the complaints heard most often by the bankers during the financial meeting was that, to make matters worse, there is now a regulatory uncertainty which discourages banks from giving credit.
After a long period of crisis, the restructuring of the financial sector and the new regulatory requirements have strengthened the position of our companies, which now enjoy healthier balance sheets, solid liquidity and solvency ratios and a greater capacity for resistance when dealing with potential risks
. However, the banking sector that emerges after the financial crisis faces some decisive factors that did not exist in the previous period, which force us to reflect on the current business model's adaptation to this new environment.
Fainé, was nominated to be chairman of CECA, although in the board meeting prior to the general meeting, held on 22 March, the function of the association and the role that its chairman should take on were discussed. According to sources close to the associated companies, those discussions included the idea that the chairman should be more involved in the board and that the issues that are to be discussed at its meetings should be included on the agenda with the due notice, so that it is made more participatory
The intense transformation experienced by the Spanish banking sector can be summed up in three key points: greater capitalisation (the average in the CECA sector at the close of 2015 is 12.86%); greater consolidation (savings banks and banks created by them have tripled their average size since 2008); and installed capacity (as the number of offices is reduced by almost 40% and the number of employees is reduced by 36%). These details highlight the intense preparation by the Spanish banking system in response to the challenge represented by the European Banking Union (unlike the financial systems of some other countries in our region, which can in no way boast the transformation and stabilisation effort made by ours).
The European Central Bank (ECB) has implemented the necessary measures so that liquidity has ceased to be a problem for the banking sector. However, it has also created a difficult environment for making business profitable. In this regard, yesterday Isidro Fainé, the chairman CaixaBank and CECA, warned, during the 109th General Meeting of the association, that “the banking sector needs to move ahead with the reforms to guarantee its competitiveness and face the challenge of profitability, its main challenge in the current environment of low interest rates and greater capital requirements".
The chairman of CECA and, in turn, Caixabank yesterday complained to the former savings banks – Abanca Corporación Bancaria, Bankia, BMN, CaixaBank, Caixa Ontinyent, Caixa Pollença, Ibercaja Banco, Kutxabank, Liberbank and Unicaja Banco – about the need “to move ahead with the reforms to guarantee their competitiveness and to face the challenge of profitability, their main challenge in the current environment of low interest rates and greater capital requirements". The 10 companies associated with CECA, which have a market share of 43%, earned 2,950 million in 2015, 16.8% less, although gross profit improved by 10.7%.
“Companies have established the objective of returning to reasonable levels of profitability and, in order to achieve this, the regulatory framework must be stabilised”
Isidro Fainé, Caixabank's chairman, has been re-elected unanimously by CECA's board of directors to lead this association for another six years. This decision will be ratified at the general meeting on 22 March.
For the twelfth year in a row, Actualidad Económica recognises the philanthropic work of savings banks, which have been able to navigate the crisis with imagination and efficiency in order to continue fulfilling their founding objective, which consists of promoting social inclusion
Yesterday Ceca, the association of savings banks, expressed its positive assessment of the fact that banking foundations already “have a stable regulatory framework in order to face the challenges of the current economic and financial environment”, after the circular approved by the Bank of Spain (Banco de España) this same week.
“All crises produce excess capacity, and not only in the financial sector, but all sectors. We have seen changes of management with the restructuring. The problem is that lenders are in a lot of debt, so the restructuring needs to continue, perhaps by means of mergers. Of course, I believe that there will be more cross-border mergers”, the chairman of the EBA added.
Enria explained, in an interview published in the CECA Ahorro magazine, in which, when asked by the Spanish banks, he assured that it is “unquestionable” that they have suffered a “very strong" restructuring and that they have very good levels of capital
Digitisation will transform the banking system. That is the message that was launched yesterday in Washington by the chairman of Caixabank, Isidro Fainé, at the Congress of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), focusing on adjustment to the digital age. Fainé participated in the event as a vice-chair of the WSBI, and chairman of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group, and of CECA.
Having completed the deep stabilisation and recapitalisation process, the banking sector is now putting all its
efforts into its new major challenge: to recover the profitability lost during
the crisis. A challenge that has also arisen in a context in which interest rates are at all-time lows, which makes the generation of revenue problematic. In this regard, the chairman of Caixabank, Isidro Fainé, at a global banking forum in Washington yesterday, urged financial institutions to continue reducing costs.
The chairman of CaixaBank and the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA), Isidro Fainé – on the left, in the image –, was re-elected on Friday as vice-chair of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), during the organisation's annual congress, focusing on the challenges of digitisation. The meeting in Washington was also attended by the Minister of Economy, Luis de Guindos – centre –, who defended the transformation of Spanish banking before the re-elected chairman of the WSBI, Heinrich Haasis
Retail, regional and responsible. This is how the banking model of the future must be, as the chairman of Caixabank, Isidro Fainé, argued yesterday at an international finance summit held in Washington. In his capacity as chairman of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG), the Spanish banker participated in the 24th congress of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), in which more than 400 senior executives of financial institutions from all over the world, regulators and technology experts participated.
CECA and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce signed an agreement yesterday to take various actions with a common purpose: to promote the financing of SMEs and entrepreneurs. CECA, via the Foundation of Savings Banks (Funcas), will promote the carrying out and circulation of studies and research on regional economics and financing for SMEs. The aim, among other factors, is to identify the obstacles that hinder said credit in order to find a way to remove them (…)
“From the group of companies associated with CECA, we try to defend a relational model of banking focusing on the financing of families and SMEs, through the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG)”.
“Spanish companies have re-orientated their resources towards the internet, increasing the average size of the bank branch and making a clear commitment to new technologies in their relationship with customers” (…)
Spanish savings banks gain importance and their ability to have an influence in Europe. The chairman of CECA and of Caixabank, Isidro Fainé, has been appointed as most senior figure of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) for a three-year period.
Isidro Fainé, the chairman of CECA and Caixabank, has been appointed as chairman of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESGB) for a three-year period. The decision was taken at the ESGB's 23rd board of directors' meeting held in Vienna on Friday, and is framed within the meetings for the renewal of the institution's governing bodies, considered in its articles of association.
Law 26/2013, of 27 December, on Savings Banks and Banking Foundations, entails a radical change to the legal system governing savings banks. Its objective was to restore
these institutions' classic social values and regional roots, and professionalise their management. (...)
CECA has drawn up the report entitled The new map of foundations: from savings banks to foundations, presented at the 4th Commission of Foundations and Obra Social. (...)
The banking associations AEB and CECA yesterday made a call for clients to contact their financial institutions to update their details and allow their bank to make a digital copy of their identity document. They must do this before 30 April because otherwise the bank will block the account. (…)
José Maria Méndez, CECA's CEO, assured that the shake-up of the European financial system has not ended. The executive recalled the importance of the consolidation process experienced in Spain, that transformed the 45 savings banks into 11 banking groups and tripled the average balance sheet (…)
Savings banks, banking foundations and other foundations associated with the CECA association allocated more than 675 million euros to Obras Sociales in 2014, 4.3 per cent more with respect to the previous year, according to details published by the sector confederation (…)
The former savings banks and banks created by them just allocated some 675 million euros to Obras Sociales in 2014, a figure slightly higher than the 650 million from one year earlier, but still one of the lowest in the last twenty years.
RESULTS The companies associated with Ceca, the Confederation of Savings Banks, earned 3,732 million last year, 111% more than in 2013. It is one of the points that was explained at the institution's General Meeting yesterday, at its 108th edition (…)
The AEB and CECA have signed an agreement with the General Board of Notaries, through which banking organisations, members of these two organisations, will be able to access the board's databases of “beneficial owners" and “family people with public responsibility or people attached to them”.
The restructuring implemented in European banking has perhaps been spineless in how it penalises the recovery of its profitability. At a meeting organised by the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) and CECA it admitted, as an exception, that in Spain the restructuring has taken place on a "mass" basis. The degree of consolidation is, in fact, one of the most severe (…)
The European Banking Authority (EBA), refuted yesterday most of the complaints that the financial sector has been making for years, as a result of decisions adopted by the financial supervisors to prevent new crises. Its chairperson, Andrea Enria, dismissed (rather, quite the opposite) the notion that the increased capital requirement for banks slows down economic recovery (…)
The companies associated with CECA – banks created by savings banks – registered a profit, attributable to the parent company, of 2,872.5 million euros in first nine months of 2014, 11% more than over the same period in 2013. In a press release, CECA, with Isidro Fainé as chairman, explained that these results are due to recurring income (…)
Despite the difficulties, former savings banks continue to be committed to social issues, as certified at the awards ceremony organised by Actualidad Económica and CECA, which, starting with this edition, have been enriched with a new award for Financial Education. Fundación Obra Social and Monte de Piedad de Madrid, Unicaja, Ibercaja, Fundación La Caixa, Fundación were some of the winning companies (…)
CECA, the entity within which some former savings banks are organised, emphasises that "within the framework of the above-mentioned regulations, companies must apply a series of diligence measures with regard to customers, which means that they obtain information on the customer and their transactions, always considering their level of risk or of that of their transaction" (…)
The Confederation of Savings Banks (Ceca) submitted statements on the draft circular on savings banks and banking foundations yesterday. The Bank of Spain (Banco de España) released the regulation for consultation at the end of October and yesterday was the deadline for companies to submit their observations. According to sources who know the process, the statements from the sector's association focused on three points. (...)
The Spanish Banking Association (AEB) and the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (Ceca) judge the Catalan tax on empty apartments that is being processed by the Catalan Parliament to be "unconstitutional"; a tax that runs the risk of never seeing the light of day if the regional elections are pushed forwards. (...)
Actualidad Económica awards a prize to the best social action, employment encouragement, local development, financial education, culture, environmental and sports initiatives carried out by the companies that emerged from the former savings banks (…)
Talking about money with parents is related to better performance by students in financial education, and more if it do almost every day. This is what was today pointed out by Ismael Sanz, the director of the Ministry of Education's National Institute of Educational Assessment (INEE), who participated in the 5th Financial Education Conference organised by the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA), (…)
Former savings banks that are owned 50% or more by their subsidiary banks (La Caixa, Kutxabank, Unicaja and Ibercaja) face demanding requirements if they do not choose to reduce the shareholding to below above-mentioned threshold. The troika forced them to establish a reserve fund to assist the subsidiary in the future if it suffers solvency deficits, and the small print was still to be defined (…)
The sector has already been awaiting the draft circular on banking foundations for weeks. It was one of the requirements of the ECB and the IMF in order to complete the reform of the now former solvent savings banks that have converted into banks. According to an initial assessment by CECA, the sector association headed by Isidro Fainé, the draft circular is positive. (...)
Satisfaction with the place achieved by the Spanish banking sector, vindication of the fact that it is the result of the great effort made in recent years, but also a certain caution in relation to what is coming: the creation of the European Banking Union. These are, in essence, the messages launched yesterday by authorities and bankers after the notes from the analysis were revealed (…)
The former savings banks allocated 647.73 million euros of their profits to Obra Social last year. The contribution represents a year-on-year rise of 14.1 per cent and a turning point in the trend. The figure had not stopped falling since 2008, the start of the crisis, which reduced the number of savings banks from 46 to ten, with a deep merger and restructuring process. (...)
In times of crisis, with the flow of the bank loans having practically stopped, a new line of financing has emerged, which in reality is very old, having been around for more than 300 years. These are the Montes de Piedad, which not only tend to society's poorest, but also now also take in very a considerable group of self-employed workers, small-scale entrepreneurs and even rich people with very valuable jewellery but little liquidity (…)
The companies associated with the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA) have obtained an attributed consolidated result of 2.695 billion euros in the first six months of the year, an increase of 0.5% with respect to the same period in 2013 (…)
At one of the Spanish Confederation of Managers and Executives' working breakfasts. José María Méndez, the CEO of the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA) and Cecabank CEO and board member, explained the new framework for the Savings Banks sector after the restructuring process (…)
Ceca, Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks, has started the countdown for its transformation. The financial institution, headed by Isidro Fainé, has amended its articles of association to reflect its new rules of play and has sent them to the Ministry of Economy for approval, something that could happen soon (...)
. Banks and savings banks believe that the new 0.03 % state tax on deposits is good news for the sector, a "lesser evil" within the rates that some regions were imposing. The AEB, the banking sector association, and Ceca, the savings bank association, do not believe that this taxation is going to be passed on to the banks' customers (…)
The sector of companies associated with the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA) recorded an attributable profit of 1.062 billion euros in first three months of the year, which means a rise of 37.4% with respect to the same period in 2013, as the association reported in a press release. Provisions for the impairment of financial assets of savings banks came to 1.464 billion euros, in a context of normalisation of the pace of contributions and declining doubtful receivables (…)
The difficult restructuring processes and efforts made in terms of stabilisation last year are starting to bear fruit for banks that have emerged from the former savings banks. In the first quarter of the year, these companies obtained a consolidated profit of 1.248.7 billion, 39.6% more than for the same period in the previous year. The increase of the minority shareholdings reduces the rise in attributable profit, of 1.062 billion, at 37.4%. (...)
The investment in Obras Sociales made by financial institutions associated with the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA) – savings banks and banks created by former savings banks – exceeded 650 million in 2013, more than 50% of which was allocated to projects linked to social and health care. In addition, 315 million was allocated to the granting of microloans, as CECA explained in a press release (…)
La Caixa's headquarters in Barcelona hosts the 20th congress and the general meeting of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) this Thursday and Friday, with around thirty financiers from various EU countries and a visit from the Minister for the Economy and Competition, Luis de Guindos. As reported by the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA) in a press release this Friday, the minister attended Thursday's dinner (…)
CECA's CEO recalled that 50% of companies associated with the savings banks association are already listed on the market. All except two will be supervised by the ECB. He criticised the Autonomous Communities' taxes on deposits. José María Méndez, Ceca's CEO, pointed out that 2013 was a turning point in the economic context (…)