The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Bankia’s Alvarez: Saving the bank that didn’t exist

When seven failing cajas were forced together, it was supposed to dampen their problems, not amplify them. Despite many doubts and hard decisions, Bankia’s chief executive Jose Sevilla Alvarez has been ambitious in restoring profitability and recovering the bank



Jose Sevilla Alvarez


 View more CEOs


In early 2013, Jose Sevilla Alvarez, the then newly appointed chief executive of Spain’s Bankia, sat down with his chairman, the storied Spanish banker Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, to have a critical conversation about where Bankia was going. 

Outside, the atmosphere in Spain was as toxic as the rancid bank they were tasked with fixing. 

The country’s financial crisis that had begun in 2008 seemed unending, and at 27% – 50% for under-25s – Spain was besieged by the social and political consequences of Europe’s highest unemployment levels.

In occupied streets and plazas across the country, Spain’s ‘indignado’ movement was venting national disgust at their broken nation. Politicians and bankers, in Spain often the same thing, were responsible for the mess, they protested, and were nothing more than ‘criminales’ and ‘corruptos.’ 

Sevilla and Goirigolzarri, long-time colleagues at Spain’s BBVA where they had charted the growth of one of Europe’s stronger banks, had been at Bankia for just six months, drafted in by the government to right the stricken Bankia vessel, sinking under billions of euros in bad property loans.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree