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The donkeys gallop ahead

Once upon a time Spain's thoroughbred banks looked down on the cajas de ahorros. But these local savings institutions are no longer the slow beasts of burden they once were. They sell many of the same products as commercial banks; they're opening branches outside their traditional stamping grounds; some are even buying banks. But as Jules Stewart reports, they are protected from takeover themselves.

Largest cajas de ahorros by income after tax
(year to March 1998)
Ptas (m)
1 Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona (La Caixa) 16,779
2 Caja de Ahorros y MP de Madrid 12,120
3 Caja de Ahorros de Galicia 6,050
4 Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa 5,804
5 Caja de Ahorros de Valencia, Castellon y Alicante (Bancaja) 4,867
6 Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo 4,256
7 Caixa de Cataluna 3,927
8 MP y CA de Ronda, Cadiz, Almeria, Malaga y Antequera (Unicaja) 3,683
9 Caja de Ahorros y MP de Zaragoza Aragon y Rioja 3,682
10 Caja de Ahorros y MP de Gipuzkoa y San Sebastian 3,568
11 Caja de Ahorros de Salamanca y Soria 3,181
12 Caja Espana de Inversiones, Caja de Ahorros y MP 3,028
13 Caja de Ahorros de Murcia 2,951
14 Caja de Ahorros de Navarra 2,588
15 Caja General de Ahorros de Granada 2,428
16 Caja de Ahorros de Asturias 2,258
17 Caja de Ahorros Municipal de Vigo 2,176
18 Caja General de Ahorros de Canarias 2,038
19 Caja de Ahorros y MP de Cordoba (Cajasur) 2,031
20 Monte de Piedad y Caja de Ahorros de Huelva y Sevilla 1,907
Source: Confederacion Espanola de Cajas de Ahorros
Largest cajas de ahorros by assets
(March 1998)
Ptas (bn)
1 Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona (La Caixa) 8,544
2 Caja de Ahorros y MP de Madrid 6,153
3 Caixa de Catalunya 2,896
4 Caja de Ahorros de Galicia 1,948
5 Caja de Ahorros de Valencia, Castellon y Alicante (Bancaja) 1,846
6...

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