Caixa Girona to merge with La Caixa
Catalan savings banks continue to restructure
Barcelona (CNA).- The executive board of Caixa Girona, a mid-range Catalan savings bank, has approved its merger with La Caixa, the biggest operator in the Catalan savings banks market and the third largest financial institution in Spain. The president of Caixa Girona, Manel Serra, declared that the decision was taken unanimously.
Pressure from the Bank of Spain, the Catalan Government, and the latest movements in the banking sector have changed the mind of the executive board of Caixa Girona. Nevertheless, there is a huge economic difference between both entities. Caixa Girona has assets of 7,800 million euros while La Caixa has assets has assets of 260,000 million euros, an amount thirty times larger than that of Caixa Girona. The merger will especially benefit La Caixa and is a sign of what is to happen in the future: the disappearance of all the smaller banks.
This merge is another move on the Catalan bank chessboard, dominated by local savings banks. Whether mergers or takeovers, many long-established banks have had to make crucial decisions due to the economic crisis. In November conversations for a merger between Caixa Penedès and Caixa Laietana were confirmed, although the process is far to be on tracks and could even involve savings banks from other autonomous communities. In May, the Catalan three-way Unnim becamewas already a reality, merging Caixa Sabadell, Caixa Terrassa and Caixa Manlleu. Now it's Caixa Girona and La Caixa’s turn.
A few weeks ago, the president of the Girona County Province Council, Enric Vilert, was especially critical with respect to the Unnim’s initial project, which included to merge Caixa Girona in the merging with Caixa Sabadell, Caixa Terrassa and Caixa Manlleu. Vilert thought this was a take over and therefore that the Caixa Girona would lose its identity. However, the circumstances finally obliged Caixa Girona to merge with another financial institution. Vilert has not yet given his opinion on merging with La Caixa, the most powerful savings bank operator of them all. The merger will especially benefit La Caixa and is a sign of what is to happen in the future: the disappearance of all the smaller banks.