Caixabank and Bankia are immersed in their merger to create the largest entity by assets in Spain. But from the first of them they have not yet thrown the bells to the flight, since it still needs to be approved at the shareholders’ meeting and obtain the approval of the supervisors. «The process is in its beginnings. We have a great journey ahead of us, the illusion for an operation with a lot of economic interest. We want it to go down in history not only because it is the largest banking merger in Spain but also because it is the best ”, explained Gonzalo Gortázar, CEO of Caixabank, at the XXVII Meeting of the Financial Sector of ABC and Deloitte, sponsored by Sociedad de Tasacción.
“The merger is still just a project, it has not yet been approved by the boards and supervisors. We are impatient for this to happen and we can start working as a single entity “, he stressed. In the manager’s opinion, beyond the economic sense, it will be essential to “maintain the essence” of the savings banks for their social work, both by the La Caixa Foundation itself and by the institutions it encompasses. Bankia. “Our essence is fully aligned with the concept of sustainability”, he added.
In spite of everything, Gortázar has not missed the occasion to warn that mergers are not positive in themselves because they are a merger. For example, you have said that sometimes you can only think about reducing costs, but that if good integration is not achieved «You end the trip saying that you are where you were before». The president of the EBA, José Manuel Campa, also warned about this point in this same forum, noting that mergers for mergers are not the objective, but rather to achieve synergies, gain efficiency and benefit from increased profitability.
In general terms, the manager explained that “The pandemic has put us to the test and shown how vulnerable we are”. Although he has also commented that banking – and society and companies in general – has known how to overcome this situation.
At Caixabank they are aware that the worst of the pandemic should have already passed, with the explosion during the month of March, together with the home confinement. Now is the time to think ahead, with recent vaccine announcements on the horizon: “Vaccines show us that the end of the tunnel is there and that it will come.”
Beyond this, Gortázar has valued the efforts of companies in general and banks in particular to promote sustainability. While “10 or 15 years ago the market used to talk about it because it looked good, now it is no longer a project, it is something that is happening.”