Patxi López’s Inaccuracies (*)

PatxiLopezPatxi López

Warinca Arce | At the presentation of the new temporary and extraordinary taxes on large energy companies and the country’s big banks, Patxi López, spokesman for the socialist parliamentary group in Congress said: “Those who are protesting are the same people who, when they, the financial institutions, had problems, knocked on the door of ‘papa Estado’ to fix their problems. And ‘daddy state’ put in 60 billion euros…”…. “So far, so bad”.

Why is his generic use of the term financial institutions not questioned? Ordinary mortals do not distinguish between savings banks and banks and probably do not remember what happened. And it seems that neither do members of the administration. In fact, the Secretary of State for the Economy, Gonzalo García, also says – in an interview in La Voz de Galicia on 31 July – that … “in the case of the banks, when they have needed it, I believe that society as a whole … has lent a hand”. The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, is also hiding behind this rescue of “the banks”…

Why doesn’t he point out that it was the savings banks and not the banks that were bailed out? And that, in general, the savings banks were well-functioning financial institutions… which gradually deteriorated for various reasons. And amongst them, the incorporation on to their boards of directors of politicians from all walks of life and members of the trade unions.

(*) Only those savings banks led by prominent PSOE leaders took more than a quarter of the 60 billion euros that Spain had to use to plug the hole in the “cajas”: Narcis Serra, former vice-president of the PSOE government and former mayor of Barcelona, presided over Caixa Catalunya -which cost almost 12 billion euros to clean up. Meanwhile Juan Pedro Hernández Moltó (former senator for the PSOE) presided over Caja Castilla La Mancha, which had to be cleaned up with more than 3 billion? Even Pedro Sánchez was, for years, a member of the Caja Madrid Assembly. And there is no record of him opposing a single one of the many decisions that led to the monumental bankruptcy of Bankia, governed by politicians from the PP such as Rodrigo Rato. The same goes for Bancaja, where the former president of the Valencian Community for the PP, José Luis Olivas, was in charge…
In short, the harsh reality is that years after the bailout of the savings banks, Banco Popular also collapsed and the shareholders, all of them, saw their money disappear. There was no bailout.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.