The Banco de España is the national supervisor of banks in Spain. This Spanish central monetary authority works within the framework of the Eurozone‘s Single Supervisory Mechanism. It was founded in Madrid in 1782. Noteworthy is the fact that Spain’s central bank is currently a member of the European System of Central Banks.
- Banco Santander
- Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA)
- Banco de Sabadell
- Banco Popular Español
- Unicaja Banco
- Ibercaja Banco
The Spanish banking system is fully integrated with international financial markets. They have influence and Spanish banks are well known worldwide, they have influence in the eurozone and they affect the global economy. The biggest banks in Spain include:
1. Banco Santander
Banco Santander is the largest bank in Spain in both revenue and assets. This bank was founded in Santander in 1857 and since 2000, the Spanish bank has been expanding, even more, operating on 4 different continents. The bank has many awards and has even been ranked on the Forbes Global 2000 list of the biggest public companies in the world.
2. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA)
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. is a global financial group and is often referred to simply as BBVA. It has one of the most recognizable logos in the world which is a testament to its credentials as a leading global financial institution. It has been ranked the second-largest of banks in Spain, far from its humble beginnings in Bilbao in 1857. Currently, it serves over 70 million customers in more than 30 countries worldwide.
CaixaBank has been frequently ranked as the third-largest bank in Spain. It has the largest banking network of 5,397 branches to compete with the other big banks. It has its headquarters in Valencia and serves 15.8 million customers.
4. Banco de Sabadell
Banco de Sabadell is another large Spanish banking group, with its headquarters Alicante, Spain. The city where it was founded, is still in the name of the bank, Sabadell which is a province of Barcelona. It began as a venture to finance local industries but later focused on commercial banking. It was a large banking network with 2310 branches in Spain and 53 international branches, all over the world.
The Spanish bank, Bankia is a consolidated bank founded in 2010. The consolidated bank has assets worth over 212 billion euros. The merging banks were Caixa Laietana, Caja Segovia, Caja Madrid, Bancaja, Caja Canarias, Caja Ávila, and Caja Rioja. The Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring has 100% ownership of Bankia since the economic downturn in 2011.
6. Banco Popular Español
Banco Popular Español was founded in 1926 but in 2017, it was bought by Banco Santander. It still operates and provides commercial banking, asset management, insurance, and real estate investments. It has its headquarters in Madrid and has clients in Portugal, Mexico, and the US.
In 1965, a joint venture of The Bank of America and Banco de Santander created a Spanish industrial bank that would later be Bankinter as we now know it. Currently, it is a commercial bank that serves over 70,000 customers and has its headquarters in Madrid. It has a history with Madrid, where it was listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange in 1972. Bankinter was a forerunner in electronic banking services in Spain, launching such a successful service in 1993.
8. Unicaja Banco
Unicaja Banco is a retail banking service provider institution headquartered in Malaga founded in 1991 with a merger of five other banking institutions. Its specialties include e-banking, deposits, personal loans, trade finance, foreign exchange, brokerage services, customer collection, insurance, asset management, securities, zero plan for professional freelancers, zero plan for professional firms and cards, with 3 million clients and 1,180 branches nationwide, maintaining a leading position in regions of origin, Andalusia and Castilla y Leon.
Founded out of a merger of Basque financial institutions — Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, Gipuzkoa Donostia Kutxa, and Caja Vital Kutxa in 2012, a September 2018 report by the company shows that the KutxaBank has garnered a total of €42.2 and €42.5 billion in both assets and customer deposits respectively.
Offering current and savings accounts, debit/credit cards, pension, life and auto insurance, online banking, investments, and personal loans as services, currently operates in Andalusia and Extremadura. In 2013 the bank signed a 10-year, €200 million value alliance with IBM to innovate and optimize the bank’s technology infrastructure, branch offices, and ATM maintenance.
10. Ibercaja Banco
Ibercaja Banco is a Spanish bank based in Zaragoza recognized as the ninth-largest bank in Spain with three million clients, accounting for a total of €53,107 million in assets and €138.4 million net profit via a 2017 company report.
The Bank has a network of 1,151 branches, 1,475 ATMs, and accounts for 5,265 employees across Spain, created by the Caja de Ahorrors and Monte de Piedad of Zaragoza, Aragón, and Rioja to develop its financial activity being 100% of the bank’s shareholders. Aragón, La Rioja, Guadalajara, Burgos, and Badajoz and home markets of the bank while Cataluna, Comunidad Valenciana, and Madrid are its growth markets.
Spain’s banking sector consists of twelve banking groups representing over 90%of the banking industry—59 private banks, 63 cooperative banks, two savings banks, and over 80 other branches that spread across the country making it a very expansive one on which the country’s growing economy relies on. It generates 70% of the country’s GVA and 61% employment generation.
The return on equity concerning profitability reported a continued increase from 7.05% (December 2017) to 8.37% (December 2018) and an efficiency ratio of 49.6%.
In 2019 the government-approved Macroprudential Authority was established to detect and analyze possible systemic risks and to alert warnings about detected systemic risks that could affect Spain’s financial stability. The industry also adapts to new innovative digital and payment technologies, one such as the BIZUM which is a person-to-person instant mobile payment system launched by a team of 27 Spanish banks in 2016. The application conducts money transactions allowing users to associate a bank account to the service for free real-time money transfers.