Monday, September 27

The Bank of Spain urges banks not to raise commissions “aggressively”



The Bank of Spain understand that banks are starting to charge by services that were free Y raising your commissions to correct their low profitability, but at the same time he has warned them that they must do so with a “logical and sensible criterion”. This is how his Deputy Governor, Margarita Delgado, in the First Plan @ forum, organized by EL PERIÓDICO with the sponsorship of Factorenergía, Telefónica and ICL Iberia: “The bank will have to find the right proper balance between maintaining an account of relatively healthy results and diversified and continue to serve customers without all of this occurring in one aggressive way or what could be perceived as abusive“.

Delgado recalled that his institution can not limit commissions, but “yes you can and do recommend” to the entities that manage them in moderation. “The bankers know my positionIn my regular conversations with them and with the banking associations, I usually remind them that they have to find that balance point. It is not a question of exhaust the goose that lays the golden eggs, but simply it is necessary to do it with a reasonable criterion “, has explained.

The Bank of Spain, has maintained its number two, is “agnostic and apolitical” regarding commissions, but it is understanding that banks, in a context of negative or very low rates that depress their income, are beginning to charge for services that were previously free. “It is true that we don’t like people. We are used in Spain to not being charged commissions. But it is also a fact that there are a number of services that have a cost“, has justified.

Of course, he reminded the sector that said commissions “have to be transparent and they have to be charged for a service truly borrowed, because otherwise would be illegal“. In case that is not the case, he stressed, customers have right to claim. “We have a very strict conduct department, which performs inspections and reviews of all the regulations on the relationship with customers, and as soon as we have any indication of the collection of commissions that are not legal, we carry out our inspections and our reviews, and in many cases it ends in fines and in files“, has warned.

You are and reputation

In the same vein, the deputy governor has been understanding with nuances with the staff and office settings that large banks such as CaixaBank and BBVA are announcing, a matter that he has described as a “complex problem”. The sector, he recalled, grew “out of control” during the housing bubble, which led him to have a “excess installed capacity”. Since 2009, it has been reducing jobs and branches in parallel with the lower activity recorded by the “strong” debt reduction of companies and households. But that process has continued has sped up for the added impact of pandemic on its profitability (“on which all our concern pivots”) and on the growing use of digital channels by your customers.

“In this framework low interest rates, narrowing of margins and high competition, which sounds very negative for the sector but it is the pure reality, the banks are using the levers they have. Both the governor and I have been emphasizing that they have to adapt to the new market conditions and transform its business model, which is what these cost reduction measures. Banks are worried about trying to survive and remain viable in the medium and long term. It must be understood within this process, which has not been short or peaceful. For us, the main concern is the profitability and viability of the business, “he said.

Delgado, yes, has come to urge you veiled strive to agree you are with the unions: “It is a concern of the supervisors that the banks properly manage the reputational risk. And in this context we could frame the social peace. I think they have learned the lessons from the previous crisis. They should and do try to manage reputational risk in a totally different way than then and I think they have enough capacity to do it properly. “Reputation, has abounded,” is very difficult to build and very easy to destroy in a second. There may be actions that potentially cause them to lose some of their reputation; they have to be aware, be able to measure impact, and they have to manage appropriately and proactively so that it doesn’t happen. ”

More women on the bench

The deputy governor, likewise, has urged them that the closure of offices does not provoke exclusion: “They have to analyze from a responsible perspective what their role is within society and continue to provide minimal financial services practically 100% of the population. “The conversation took place before the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, urged the Bank of Spain to control the salaries of bankers, so it has not been possible to question the deputy governor about Delgado, however, has pointed out in general terms that the “regulating pressure” has made the governance of the Spanish banks there “greatly improved”, although he has warned them that they should not “lower their guard, because the bank is continually exposed to new risks.”

Margarita Delgado at the Primera Plana colloquium, with the director of El Periódico, Albert Sáez, on the left, and the finance editor, Pablo Allendesalazar. Jose Luis Roca


In this field of corporate governance, Delgado has been in favor of set goals percentage of female presence on the bank senior management, the same as those that govern the boards of all types of companies (40% in 2022), which oblige entities to comply or explain why don’t they: “I was not a supporter of dues, and perhaps a hard quota is a bit strict, but setting objectives and having to comply or explain can be one more element of the policy for women to have a increased visibility and leadership towards the future. “There are studies, he stressed, that prove that female executives” can take decisions in risk environments in a way much more efficient“.

Delgado is the first deputy governor of the Bank of Spain since its foundation in 1782 and has considered that it would be good news that the replacement for the current governor, Pablo Hernández de Cos, was also a woman for the first time: “It would be a hito for the Bank of Spain and for Spain. I recently saw a statistic that pointed out that 31 new governors named in the world the last year, only one she was a woman. This should give you some thought. But hey, there are also many very well prepared men. ”

Crisis without bailouts

The deputy governor has also considered very unlikely that in this crisis, contrary to the previous one, the banking authorities are forced to intervene and restructure banks, thanks, among other reasons, to improved regulation and supervision, as well as to the fact that institutions have practically doubled their solvency and with a capital of “a lot” more quality. “I do not see no problem on the horizon righ now. If everything goes as planned, that is, the economy ends up recovering in the coming months, there should be no problem, “he maintained.

However, it has warned entities that the delinquency in the payment of loans, which has so far decreased slightly thanks to public support measures for companies and households, will begin to go up “possibly later this year and more early 2022”. And although he does not believe that it will reach the historical maximum of 13.61% in 2013 and estimates that it will be “manageable” and may be absorbed thanks to the results of the banks, it has urged them to be “super wise” and continue to anticipate the problem by reserving more provisions of which they already saved “partially” last year. In addition, you have suggested that while you feel “comfortable” with your level of capital, “a little more would not be bad”.

Temporary hardening

Delgado has also blamed the “slight” hardening of the last quarters in the terms that banks impose on their customers to give them credits to “uncertainty” about “wounds that the crisis will leave in the productive fabric”. However, she has been confident that it will clear up “gradually” thanks to the vaccination, which is making the “light at the end of the tunnel” see, so he estimates that There should be no limitation in access to finance, now that the entities foresee a Increased demand in the second quarter, “which is good, because it implies that there will be investment and spending initiatives” by companies and families.

“I do not see fundamental reasons on the horizon that prevent the bank from continuing to lend if the economy evolves as expected and they do not occur abrupt withdrawals from public support of different nature and dimension that are taking place. In this we must err on the side of caution, because the relapse could be even worse, “he warned. He has also considered probable that the European Central Bank (ECB) lift in September the restriction on the payment of dividends to 15% of recurring profit, although it has qualified that the decision has not been made.


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