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CaixaBank brushes off Catalan crisis

Redomicile quelled depositor fears, says CEO; economy boosts newly acquired Portuguese business.


Gonzalo Gortázar moved quickly to stem the risks to CaixaBank

With its operational headquarters and heritage in Barcelona, CaixaBank is at the centre of the Catalan storm. This situation looked particularly worrying in October, when regional voters clashed with police over an illegal referendum on independence from Spain. 

The bank’s subsequent decision to relocate its registered office from Barcelona to Valencia has proven effective, says chief executive Gonzalo Gortázar, as CaixaBank took what he says was a rapid and non-political step to stem risks to the institution. 

In 2018, the nationalist crisis continues to make headlines and, since the European Commission backed Spanish unity late last year, investors and depositors have had to recognize that independence from Spain would entail a Catalan exit from the euro. 

CaixaBank and its foundation have long been important players in Catalan business and society. It has taken advantage of the fallout from Spain’s financial crisis to bulk up across the country, reducing the weight of Catalonia in its business. However, redomiciling was necessary as, at the height of the crisis, CaixaBank was faced with a sell-off in its shares and the sudden prospect of a deposit flight. 

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