Coronavirus: Spanish banks find a practical way to work with the state
The country’s biggest firms are doing all they can to bolster their reputation, as the nation faces a human and economic crisis brought on by Covid-19.
BBVA, among others, is providing the Spanish health ministry with essential equipment to help fight Covid-19
Only a few months ago, Spain’s top bankers were muttering darkly about how new bank taxes under the incoming left-wing government would make credit pricier and scarcer, and exacerbate wider economic mismanagement.
They were all the more worried because both coalition partners – the centre-left socialist party, which controls the finance ministry, and the far-left Podemos party – had advocated harsher fiscal treatment of the banks in campaigning before elections last November.
Earlier this year, the government went ahead with plans for a new financial transactions tax.
Even now, Spanish banks know they’re not going to be the heroes of the coronavirus crisis, but they are trying convince the government and the public that, this time at least, they will need less prompting to take their responsibilities seriously as some the eurozone’s biggest and most profitable financial institutions, in one of its financially weakest states.
Part of that has meant putting aside their own rivalries to coordinate their responses.