Spanish banks band together

FOUR of Spain’s unlisted savings banks said yesterday they had agreed to merge to form the sixth-largest group of such banks by turnover.

Caixa Penedes, Caja Murcia, Caja Granada and Sa Nostra added that the joint entity would have an annual turnover of some €103bn (£86.1bn).

Following the central bank’s intervention in savings bank CajaSur on 22 May, the Bank of Spain is pushing harder for mergers among small savings banks, whose credit quality has deteriorated sharply due to heavy exposure to Spain’s ailing property sector.