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The world’s best bank transformation 2021: CaixaBank clinches the Spanish crown

After merging with Bankia, CaixaBank has become the undisputed champion of Spanish retail banking. At a time when the sector is facing profound challenges, it’s already on the way to realizing crucial cost savings. Euromoney talks to executive chairman José Ignacio Goirigolzarri and chief executive Gonzalo Gortázar about this transformational merger.

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Photo: Getty

When Gonzalo Gortázar first met José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, the two of them could never have imagined that, many years later, they would lead a new Spanish national banking champion together. Back then, around the turn of the millennium, Gortázar was an M&A banker at Morgan Stanley and Goirigolzarri was his client, leading BBVA’s purchases of banks across Latin America – most notably Bancomer, now Mexico’s biggest bank.

This was a time when European banks enjoyed better valuations than their emerging market peers. Negative interest rates were just an academic concept. Even deposit and mortgage-focused savings banks seemed healthy.

A quarter of a century later, things are very different, but after this year’s merger of CaixaBank and Bankia, the two are working together once again.

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Dominic O’Neill is EMEA editor. He joined Euromoney in 2007 to cover emerging markets, focusing on central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and later on Latin America. Based in London, he has covered developed market banking since 2015.
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