The ECB’s preliminary report on the structural financial indicators relating to the EU banking industry flag that the number of banking subsidiaries fell 4.8% in 26 countries last year, without taking into account figures from the UK and Ireland because they were not yet available. There were 28,807 bank branches in Spain at end-2016, compared with 32,026 in Germany, 37,261 in France or 29,335 in Italy. The figures also show the level of consolidation in the banking sector, measured by the share of assets held by the five largest lenders.
The certainty that we are on the threshold of a phase of consistent interest rate rises – the Fed could implement two or three further hikes this year – is spurring the European banks to endow themselves with liquidity from the ECB, at low prices.
The Eurozone is showing positive signs of growth and inflation. But the risk premium levels of the peripheral countries are still very high compared with those at the start of this year. In the short-term, they will move to the political beat, particularly any news on the French election.
J.L. M. Campuzano (Spanish Banking Association) Cash or credit card? Make a transfer? Or perhaps use another digital payment method? For example, using your mobile pone, like with Bizum. According to the Bank of Spain, payment by credit card has grown at double digit rates of over 10% in the last few months. The amount of cash taken from dispensers has also increased, although at a more moderate rate at around 3%.
The Spanish banking sector’s stock market rally has been suddenly cut short. The listed banks’ index had risen over 45% since the minimum levels of June 2016 until the first week of January. But since then, it is seeing a correction. Two matters of concern for investors are the impact of the floor clauses ruling on the banks profit and loss account, as well as the problems of the Italian banks.
Just minutes after the the EU ruling on ‘floor clauses’ was released, the banks in Spain’s blue-chip Ibex 35 index ended up dropping over 10%. But most of the lenders recovered ground by the end of the session. Afi estimates the ruling will affect the banking sector as a whole to the tune of some 4.5 billion euros.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Spanish banks have to return all the extra money they charged clients affected by the ‘floor clauses’ included in their mortgage contracts. The court has rejected the idea of a time-limited retroactive effect because it is “incomplete and insufficient”.
Banco Santander has delivered €4.606 BN in attributable profits for the first nine months of 2016, down 22.5% from the same period in 2015 due to the impact of extraordinary items announced in Q2 of this year and Q2 of 2015. Excluding extraordinary items and exchange rate movements, profits grew by 8% year on year to €4.975 BN.
The amount of government debt registered in the banks’ portfolios fell to 129.684 billion euros in August, over 5 billion euros below July levels. And it’s the lowest amount of public debt in their portfolios since July 2015.
Francisco López | Lately, the Spanish banks are receiving a huge amount of buy recommendations from analysts. Some experts are asking whether there are some sound reasons to bet on banking stocks now, apart from the fact that the majority of their share prices are attractive.