Blog Post

Catalonia and the Spanish banking system

As tensions rise around Catalonia's independence movement, there are worries about the impact on the Spanish banking sector. Banks based in Catalonia account for around 14% of total assets. Some major institutions are already moving their headquarters to other parts of Spain. However, most Spanish banks have significant exposure to the Catalan market, and all could be caught up in the turmoil.

By: Date: October 6, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

The recent turmoil in Catalonia is raising concern across Europe. Foremost is, of course, the desire for a peaceful solution to the dispute. But there are also major worries around the Spanish banking industry. The two largest banks headquartered in Catalonia, CaixaBank and Banco de Sabadell, have are already making plans to move their headquarters to the Balearic Islands and Madrid respectively. So, how are banks based in Catalonia affected by this crisis?

In this blog post, I present a statistical overview of  the Spanish banking system. To get a better idea of how big the Catalonian banking sector is compared to the rest of Spain, we use data provided by SNL. This  covers 87 financial enterprises, including different types of banks, credit cooperatives and public financial institutions. The balance sheet size in terms of the total assets owned by the top 20 banks in Spain can be found on the table below.

Among 85 Spanish banking industry institutions (for which SNL provides data on total assets), 6 are headquartered in Catalonia. Their share in assets of the Spanish banking system is about 14% (Figure 1).

The Catalonia-based financial institutions include the two largest Catalonian lenders: CaixaBank and Banco de Sabadell. Then come Institut Català de Finances, which is a public financial institution owned by the government of Catalonia, Banco Mediolanum SA, which offers personal banking services, Caja de Arquitectos S. Coop. and Caja Rural de Guissona SCC.

CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell have already been heavily affected by the political risks, as their stock prices lost some 5% recently. These two banks’ total assets represent a relatively significant proportion of the total assets of banks in Spain: 13.8%.

However, non-Catalan banks are also caught up in the Catalonian drama. In fact, many of the large Spanish banks have significant activities, including offices and lending, in Catalonia.

Moving headquarters out of Catalonia may help Catalonian bank preserve access to the ECB liquidity window if the situation escalates. But the exposure of all Spanish banks through their business with Catalonia will remain significant.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

View comments
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Jan
29
12:30

Take a chance on me: Sweden considers the Banking Union

This event will discuss if Sweden should join the European banking union and the general state of the union.

Speakers: Fredrik Bystedt, Elena Carletti, Maria Demertzis and Pawel Gąsiorowski Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

The state of health in the EU and the digitalisation of health promotion

The panellists at this event reviewed the general state of health as well as the digitalisation in the industry.

Speakers: Stefania Boccia, Caroline Costongs, Katarzyna Czabanowska, Zsolt Darvas, Guillaume Dedet, Martin Dorazil, Josep Figueras, Joanna Kokot, Martin Seychell and Michael Strübin Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 22, 2020
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Partnering with Europe on responsible AI: a conversation with Sundar Pichai, CEO Google and Alphabet

At this event, Google's and Alphabet's CEO Sundar Pichai will elaborate on his views on Artificial Intelligence.

Speakers: Sundar Pichai and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: SQUARE, Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels Date: January 20, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Banking after Brexit

Will Brexit damage Britain's financial services industry? Or is talk of its diminished status just a storm in a teacup? The City of London could move closer to Wall Street or it might become "Singapore-on-Thames". Nicholas Barrett talks to Rebecca Christie about banking after Brexit.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: January 16, 2020
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

External Publication

European Parliament

Impediments to resolvability of banks

This paper gives an overview of the seven aspects of resolvability defined in 2019 by the Single Resolution Board, and then assesses progress in two key areas, based on evidence gathered from public disclosures made by the 20 largest euro-area banks. The largest banks have made good progress in raising bail-in capital. Changes to banks’ legal and operational structures that will facilitate resolution will take more time. Greater transparency would make it easier to achieve the policy objective of making banks resolvable.

By: Alexander Lehmann Topic: European Parliament Date: December 18, 2019
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

Working Paper

A new look at net balances in the European Union's next multiannual budget

Whenever the European Union’s budget is discussed, much of the political focus is on net balances – whether countries pay in more than they receive – rather than on the broader overall positive effects of EU spending. The largest net contributor countries have sought to limit their contributions, leading to the build-up of an ad-hoc, complex, opaque and regressive system of revenue corrections.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: December 12, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Non-performing loans’ legacy versus secondary markets

Eleven years since the start of Europe’s financial crisis, and the legacy of non-performing loans in the EU, though much smaller, is still a live issue for some member states.

By: Joanna Surala Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: December 10, 2019
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

Policy Contribution

The European Union-Russia-China energy triangle

Concern is growing in the European Union that a rapprochement between Russia and China could have negative implications for the EU.

By: Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: December 9, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Europe can take a bigger role in providing public goods

The EU should invest where it can deliver more value than member states acting alone.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: December 5, 2019
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Bank regulation in the European Union neighbourhood: limits of the ‘Brussels effect’

The EU model of financial market regulation is increasingly copied by third countries. In this context, the EU’s efforts to promote its model beyond its borders should take into account the underdevelopment of financial markets in many partner countries, and the often insufficient capacity of regulators and supervisors.

By: Alexander Lehmann Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: November 20, 2019
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Working Paper

The state of China-European Union economic relations

More can be done to capture the untapped trade and investment opportunities that exist between China and the EU. China’s size and dynamism, and its recent shift from an export-led to a domestic demand-led growth model, mean that these opportunities are likely to grow with time.

By: Uri Dadush, Marta Domínguez-Jiménez and Tianlang Gao Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 20, 2019
Read article Download PDF More by this author

Policy Contribution

Crisis management for euro-area banks in central Europe

Euro-area bank integration has decreased as post-financial crisis national rules require banks to hold more capital at home. It might be undermined further by bank resolution planning. Either a Single Resolution Board takes the lead for the entire banking group or independent local intervention schemes need to be developed for crisis resolution.

By: Alexander Lehmann Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: November 19, 2019
Load more posts