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.

Spanish banks: Twelve months of turbulence

Big mergers at the end of the 1990s, followed by banking scandals, have led to widespread changes at the top of Spanish banks. Exposure to Argentina has caused further headaches. The big two, SCH and BBVA, which are adjusting to their new identities, will be hoping that the worst is over.

After a turbulent 12 months of senior management upheaval and reform in Spanish banking things seem to be calming down, at least domestically.

Over the past year, two chairmen and two CEOs have resigned from Spain's two largest banks, Santander Central Hispano (SCH) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA). The reasons differ from bank to bank but both went through big mergers at the end of the 1990s and both are gradually discovering that being a major European banking group demands a great deal more transparency than the small, family-run Spanish banks were previously used to.

BBVA has been through the greatest upheaval, turning over 50% of its board in the past six months. This includes the unexpected departure of co-chairman Emilio Ybarra and CEO Pedro Luis Uriarte last December.

It now seems clear that the sudden departure of these two banking executives is linked to the existence of secret accounts held as far back as 1987 in offshore tax havens, which are thought to have been used to provide tax-free pensions for 22 BBV employees before the merger with Argentaria, and to fund political campaigns in Latin America. Ybarra has taken full responsibility for the undisclosed accounts and is currently being investigated.

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.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

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

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, 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

LOGIN NOW

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