The non-banking sector in Europe currently accounts for 54% of total assets versus 42% in 2008. But interestingly, it’s in Germany and Spain, amongst the big countries, where banks maintain their weighting in absolute terms and in relation to their products.
José Luis M. Campuzano (Spanish Banking Association) |Supervision and a single resolution mechanism for the banks, along with a common deposit guarantee, are undoubtedly an essential part of monetary union. In the medium-term, however, greater fiscal convergence, with a more extensive mutualisation of risk in the region, are just as important.
J.L. M. Campuzano (Spanish Banking Association) | The Spanish banks have made a big effort over the last few years to provide solutions for more than a million households experiencing difficulties in meeting their mortgages repayments. We estimate that over 10% of current existing mortgages have been refinanced or restructured.
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”.