Bankia Prepares €1bn Toxic Asset Sale to Digest BMN’s Real Estate

17 May 2018 – Voz Pópuli

Bankia is working on one of its largest divestments since José Ignacio Goirigolzarri took charge of the group. The nationalised entity is assessing the sale of a portfolio of problem assets worth €1 billion, the largest since 2015, according to financial sources consulted by Voz Pópuli.

The bank’s teams have not defined the exact perimeter of the portfolio yet nor have they prepared the sales documentation together with an advisor. Nevertheless, the plan is that the project will come onto the market in the summer and be closed during the final quarter of the year.

The portfolio will contain flats and real estate loans inherited from Bankia’s former savings banks as well as from BMN, the group that it merged with at the end of last year. The increase in the size of the portfolio with respect to previous years is precisely due to the integration of the group chaired by Carlos Egea, which contributed €4.4 billion in toxic assets to Bankia’s existing €12.8 billion portfolio.

Strategic objective

In the strategic plan, announced at the beginning of the year, Goirigolzarri stressed the objective of reducing its exposure to problem assets by almost €3 billion from €17.2 billion at the end of 2017. During the first quarter, it managed to clean up €600 million. That rhythm, together with the portfolio that it is working on, would enable it to meet the objective in 2018.

For the time being, Bankia is not working on any multi-million euro operations, such as the ones closed last year by Santander and BBVA, and the one that Banco Sabadell is currently exploring.

By contrast, Bankia is placing portfolios of between €200 million and €500 million on the market to maximise the return that it obtains for its shareholders.

In this vein, it has Project Beetle underway, containing €400 million in problem loans, and it recently put Project Vera on the market, comprising €250 million in non-performing loans. Moreover, it has sold a portfolio worth €300 million to the fund GoldenTree Asset Management, according to El Independiente.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Housers Backs Small-Medium Property Developers by Financing Land Purchases < €5M

14 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Housers wants to build a niche market for real estate crowdfunding together with small- and medium-sized property developers. The Spanish proptech has launched this new line of business with the opening of two projects in Madrid, but it is already assessing a dozen more “of which three will be announced soon”, according to Francisco Taboada, Director of Real Estate at Housers, speaking to Eje Prime.

“We have realised that the banks are quite reluctant to finance land and, meanwhile, funds are participating in projects with a minimum budget for land purchases of €5 million”, explains Taboada. For this reason, his company has started to finance land for property developers with investments of less than that figure, when it represents around 50% of the development, as a rule of thumb. “In specific cases, that split may be higher, but only in the case of projects where the property developers already have 75% of the flats reserved, for example, which means that the certainty is greater for investors in our platform”, says the director.

Since it started its first studies to finance land in May last year, Housers has financed land worth €16 million for property developers such as ByNok, Senor, Fedezu, Vibopa, Annura, Dicam and Grupo Aransa, for which it financed a project in neighbouring Portugal, which, together with Italy, is one of the two European markets to which the proptech travelled last year to “diversify the locations for our users”, said Taboada.

The executive points out that, amongst other aspects, these type of property developers, with projects that do not tend to exceed thirty homes, are also looking to raise their profiles with Housers. “We have almost 90,000 registered investors and that appeals them”, highlights Taboada, who summarises the benefits of his platform for small property developers in three: financing, marketing and the cross-sales that are generated.

Nevertheless, “there are cases in which some of the users who invest in these projects then become interested in buying some of the units in the development”, says the executive. “Our platform is your shop window”, is what the director says to his potential (property developer) clients.

Create your own reputation through the platform 

“Just like Amazon has vendors with very good ratings, we will have property developers with good reputations”, explains Taboada. One of the projects under assessment is located in Palma de Mallorca, which will soon be home to a plot of land for residential development financed by Housers.

This point is noteworthy because the Balearic city is one of the areas where buildable land is most scarce, which has driven up house prices, generating concern amongst citizens, which demand more product in stock.

By how much is this business model from Housers going to grow? “For the time being, of the €50 million that we have financed in total, €15 million relates to this new market niche, and clearly we hope that it will be one of the main lines of business for us”, revealed Taboada.

Four new regions for 2018: Málaga, Euskadi, Sevilla and the Canary Islands

In terms of Housers’ projects for 2018, as well as travelling to the three new European countries, the firm is looking to enter the markets in Málaga, Euskadi and Sevilla, as well as in the Canary Islands. “Moreover, we want to consolidate our presence in the cities in which we already operate, namely Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Palma”, says the director. The company aims to accumulate investment of €90 million and to have 125,000 users on the platform before the end of the year (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Includes its own RE Manager in the Popular Divestment Deal

3 May 2018 – La Información

Blackstone’s real estate platform, Anticipa, is going to collaborate with Aliseda – founded at the time by Popular – in the management of its voluminous property portfolio. The US fund acquired Anticipa in 2014 when it was awarded Catalunya Caixa’s portfolio, and it has just taken control of Aliseda, as part of the mega-operation signed with Santander. The Cantabrian group included the real estate platform, together with a dozen real estate companies, in the €30 billion gross portfolio of properties that it transferred to the new company, in which Blackstone owns 51% of the capital and Santander held onto the remaining 49%.

Blackstone decided not to merge the companies but they are going to collaborate together, according to information submitted to the market about the syndicated loan signed to close Popular’s transaction. The toxic exposure divested by Santander in the deal known as “Project Quasar” has been valued at €10 billion net, given that there was a provision cushion amounting to 63% of the original value in the case of the foreclosed assets and 75% in the case of the loans.

The transaction was structured with the contribution of 30% in capital and 70% in debt. The bank and the fund are going to contribute almost €3 billion in capital and the remaining almost €7.333 billion will proceed from a financial structure led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, together with Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Parlex 15 Lux, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Sof Investment. The operation has been advised by the law firm Allen & Overy, amongst others.

The “Neptune” portfolio constituted to obtain the financing includes Aliseda in the perimeter along with numerous real estate companies and stakes held in them by Popular, including Tifany Investments, Corporación Financiera ISSOS, Pandantan (Mindanao), Taler Real Estate, Vilarma Gestión, Marina Golf, Popsol, Elbrus Properties, Cercebelo Assets, Eagle Hispania, Las Canteras de Abanilla and Canvives. A large proportion of the assets transferred are plots of land, together with residential homes, industrial warehouses, commercial properties, offices, garages and almost €1 billion gross exposure in hotels.

This operation is going to allow Santander to dramatically reduce its exposure to foreclosed assets from €41.1 billion to €10.4 billion – a figure that is reduced to a net of €5.2 billion thanks to the provisions it has recognised amounting to 50% of the initial value – but enabling it to benefit from the divestments as a shareholder of the company receiving the portfolios with a 49% stake.

The plan includes the use of Socimis

The fund’s divestment plans include constructing or transferring some of the assets to Socimis, a vehicle that Blackstone has made use of for previous operations because it offers tax benefits such as avoiding the need to pay Corporation Tax if they distribute dividends. In gross terms, residential assets accounted for almost one-third of the perimeter of the original properties involved in the transaction.

After leaving the Popular portfolio in the hands of Blackstone, Santander still has €4 billion net in foreclosed assets and €1.2 billion in doubtful financing that it wants to get rid of soon. The bank plans to repackage the assets by batch and put them on the market, where half a dozen entities and Sareb are exploring how to get rid of almost €48 billion gross – the bad bank alone is looking for a buyer for the €30 billion whose sale is being managed by Haya Real Estate, and Sabadell has several batches up for sale amounting to almost €11 billion.

The Cantabrian group acquired Popular when it had closed the chapter to clean up its real estate and now it wants to return to that position quickly. It was its real estate division to leave behind the “red numbers” this year or by the early stages of 2019 at the latest.

Original story: La Información (by Eva Contreras)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Wants to Create a Hotel Leader with Hispania

5 April 2018 – Expansión

The investment fund Blackstone is considering a corporate operation involving the real estate group Hispania, as revealed by the online edition of Expansión yesterday. Financial market sources indicate that the fund is interested in the group’s real estate assets, rather than in Hispania’s company structure, and may make an offer shortly. Half an hour before the close of trading yesterday, Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV) decided to suspend trading of the company’s shares when they had risen by 1.65% to €18.50 per share.

In the statement, the regulator indicated that trading would remain suspended “whilst the relevant information is communicated”. The Socimi’s asset portfolio amounted to €2.5 billion at the end of last year, of which €600 million corresponds to the 25 office buildings that it is looking to sell as part of its strategy to focus on the hotel management business. The transfer of that real estate portfolio is already on track and could materialise soon with its sale to the fund Tristan Capital. That portfolio would have to be excluded from the bid that Blackstone is considering, which would amount to around €1.7 billion, according to sources in the real estate sector.

Blackstone’s objective is to acquire Hispania’s hotel portfolio, the largest in Spain, taking advantage of the interest from its existing shareholders, including George Soros, to close their investments in Spain, which were initiated in 2014 and which are expected to be liquidated in 2020. To this end, the price set in the negotiations would have to come close to the valuation of the hotel portfolio, estimated at €1.638 billion as at December 2017, compared to its current market capitalisation of around €2.0 billion. The valuation of the portfolio reflects an important appreciation with respect to the purchase cost of the assets contained therein, in which Hispania invested just over €1.069 billion, and 42% more than the total allocated, including spending on renovations and updates to the properties.

At the end of last year, the Socimi reached an agreement with its until then partner in Bay, the hotel group Barceló, to acquire 100% of that subsidiary. According to the most recent accounts, Hispania’s hotels generated revenues of €129.67 million in 2017, up from €117.8 million recorded the previous year. Of that amount, €77.9 million was generated by properties in the Canary Islands, followed by €22.1 million contributed by hotels in the Balearic Islands and €8.7 million by hotels located in Madrid.

Blackstone is the international fund with the greatest exposure to the Spanish real estate sector, following several record-breaking operations. It owns assets worth €15 billion, including 51% of Popular’s real estate business, with a gross value of €30 billion, but acquired for €5 billion. Last year, it also purchased HI Partners, the hotel subsidiary of Sabadell.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Ruiz/R.Arroyo/M.Á.Patiño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA, CaixaBank & Sabadell Recorded Revenues of €5bn from House Sales in 2017

2 April 2018 – Expansión

Last year, BBVA, CaixaBank and Sabadell recorded revenues of more than €5,065 million from the sale of homes that came onto their balance sheets due to non-payment during the years of the crisis. Santander obtained €1,295 million in this regard, and Bankia and Bankinter received €457 million and €138 million, respectively. In total, the banks in the Ibex 35 recorded sales of €6,955 million from the sale of homes, which represented a YoY increase of 6%.

In parallel to the signing of agreements to launch the transfer of the bulk of their portfolios of toxic assets to specialist funds, year after year, the banks are marketing properties through their own distribution platforms to clean up their balance sheets and return them to the figures that they registered before the outbreak of the crisis.

BBVA recorded the highest revenue figure, of €2,121 million, which represents an increase of 7.5% YoY, from the sale of 25,816 properties. Its subsidiary Anida is responsible for distributing its products in the market.

By the end of last year, BBVA’s exposure to the real estate sector had decreased by 37.2%, to €6,416 million, due, primarily, to the wholesale operations undertaken.

Last year, the bank chaired by Francisco González made a turn in its real estate strategy by agreeing to create a joint entity with Cerberus to which it will transfer some of its properties, worth around €13 billion. The bank will hold a 20% stake in that entity and the fund the remaining 80%. The operation is expected to be closed during the second half of 2018.

Last quarter

The largest increase in the sale of homes was achieved by CaixaBank, which saw its revenues rise by 20.4% YoY to €1,610 million. Most of those operations were concentrated in the final quarter of the year when proceeds of €561 million were received.

Through Servihabitat, CaixaBank markets the properties of the group’s subsidiary BuildingCenter online, as well as through the branch network and API. The bank has €5,878 million in foreclosed assets up for sale and €3,030 million allocated for rent.

The bank has engaged KPMG, Oliver Wyman and McKinsey to redefine its strategy and gain efficiencies in the divestment of the foreclosed real estate assets.

As part of that roadmap, last week, CaixaBank sold 1,458 homes to Testa for €228 million.

Meanwhile, Sabadell cut its property sales by 14% to €1,334 million due to fewer sales to institutional investors, which fell from €233 million in 2016 to €57 million a year later. Last year, Sabadell divested 14,924 properties, up by 2.6% compared to the previous year. Its subsidiary Solvia is its main distribution channel.

In parallel, Sabadell has placed two toxic real estate portfolios up for sale, proceeding in part from the former CAM, under advice from KPMG.

Last year, Santander recorded revenues of €1,295 million from the sale of foreclosed assets, which represented a YoY increase of 19.5%. The gross value of the assets sold by that bank last year was €2,168 million, up by 33% compared to the previous year. Santander obtained profits of €95 million from its sales, up by 64%.

Altamira is Santander’s distribution platform, which held €11,661 million in foreclosed assets at the end of 2017, of which €5,943 million proceeded from Popular. To that figure, we have to add €3,619 million in assets from Popular included in the operation agreed with Blackstone, which will allow the clean up of the group’s toxic assets (…).

Finally, Bankia sold 8,430 properties in 2017, which represents 20.2% of the stock it had held at the beginning of the year, for which it recorded revenues of €457 million, down by 2.9%. Bankinker, one of the banks with the lightest real estate load obtained €138 million, up by 2.2%.

Original story: Expansión (by Elisa del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Project Sintra: BBVA Engages PwC to Sell €1bn of Toxic Loans

13 March 2018 – Voz Pópuli

BBVA does not want to waste any more time on the real estate clean-up exercise. In the last few days, the entity chaired by Francisco González has launched a €1 billion portfolio on the market: Project Sintra, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. It is being advised in the operation by PwC. Neither the bank nor the consultancy firm wanted to comment.

This portfolio is the penultimate step for BBVA in the reduction of its real estate exposure to zero, after the agreement it reached with Cerberus to transfer €13 billion of foreclosed assets, as this newspaper revealed. That sale, Project Marina, is still pending the necessary authorisations and is scheduled to be closed in the middle of this year.

The balance of BBVA’s divestments is as follows: before Project Marina, the entity had a gross exposure (not including provisions) of almost €16 billion, which will end up at just over €3 billion. Of that figure, two-thirds relate to unpaid loans linked to land and completed developments, with a coverage ratio of 54%.

With this new operation, BBVA wants to be crowned as the first major entity to get rid of its inheritance from the crisis. Last year, Santander closed the sale of €30 billion from Popular to Blackstone, but it still has €11.7 billion left to divest.

The same stars

With Project Sintra, BBVA has now awarded the mandate for three consecutive operations to PwC. It did so with Project Jaipur, worth €600 million, which was acquired by Cerberus; and Project Marina, which had the same advisor and buyer.

The latter operation generated unease amongst certain funds, which complained to the bank because it had not opened a competitive process, but instead chose to negotiate one on one with Cerberus. Sources close to that operation defended that a bilateral sale could optimise both the price and an auction, thanks to the threat of opening the process to more rivals.

In this way, BBVA is one of the entities that has decided to accelerate the sale of portfolios during the first quarter, like Sareb, which is finalising the sale of between three and four packages: Nora, Bidasoa, Dune and Slap, with a combined volume of €3.2 billion.

One of the most fashionable assets and one that entities are increasingly including in their portfolios is land. In this way, Sareb is preparing an operation containing land only and Kutxabank is evaluating a similar process.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Oaktree to Buy Land from Iberdrola for €100M to Develop it with Solvia

13 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Oaktree is going shopping hand in hand with Solvia. The US fund is just one step away from signing an agreement with Iberdrola Inmobiliaria to acquire a portfolio of land worth more than €100 million. In this operation, the property developer subsidiary of Banco Sabadell would perform the role of developer of the future promotions through a joint venture with the investment fund.

The plots of land that Oaktree is planning to acquire are located all over Spain. More than half of the land that Iberdrola is willing to sell is located in Granada, although the portfolio for sale also includes plots in Madrid, Valencia, Málaga, Navarra, Salamanca, Cantabria and Murcia, according to Vozpópuli, which reports that the operation just needs to be signed.

Other funds and institutional investment groups have reportedly expressed their interest in this land portfolio, including the US bank Goldman Sachs.

For the development of the acquired land, Oaktree is planning to create a joint venture with Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios, the property development arm of Sabadell. Nevertheless, the operation proposes, in addition, that each new development generate new companies in which Iberdrola Inmobiliaria would also have a presence.

In November last year, Banco Sabadell announced the creation of its own property development subsidiary to be responsible for this area of the real estate business for the financial entity. Currently, Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios has a land portfolio worth €1.2 billion, which would now increase as a result of this alliance with Oaktree.

Meanwhile, once the sale is certified, Iberdrola Inmobiliaria would see a reduction in its exposure to real estate, a sector in which it has been very active in recent months, as shown by the project that it is working on in Barcelona, where it is planning to build 88,120 m2 of offices. At the end of 2016, the company owned real estate assets worth €1.7 billion.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cerberus Wins Bid To Manage & Sell Bankia’s Expanded Real Estate Portfolio

5 March 2018 – La Información

Cerberus has fought off competition from Lindorff to become one of the new Bankia’s partners, responsible for managing and selling its portfolio of foreclosed assets, which now exceeds €5 billion. The group chaired by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has opted to continue with its existing partner in the end, to the detriment of the partner that has been working with BMN since 2014, for reasons that may go beyond the mere economic bid offered by both, indicate reliable sources.

Bankia’s alliance with Cerberus dates back to 2013, when it acquired its real estate firm Habitat on which it built Haya Real Estate, the servicer, which is now finalising its debut on the stock market after having also been awarded contracts to manage the portfolios of BBVA, Liberbank, Cajamar and Sareb (…).

At that time, almost all of Spain’s financial institutions opted to divest their “servicers” in light of the need to accelerate the sale of their toxic assets and the large appetite of specialist funds to grow in size and contracts. BMN’s story is similar. In 2014, it sold its real estate asset company Inmare to Aktua for €40 million. Aktua was Banesto’s former real estate servicer company, which Lindorff acquired from Centerbridge Partners in a close battle with Apollo and Activum SG Capital Management in 2016.

The Norwegian fund, which is itself currently immersed in an integration process with Intrum Justitia, thus took over the management of the real estate assets of the banking group led by Caja Murcia, as well as of those transferred by BMN to Sareb. The entity now also works for Ibercaja and with certain portfolios from entities such as Santander.

Haya Real Estate and Lindorff’s contracts with their respective clients are similar because they both impose a decade-long period of exclusivity, forcing Bankia to review its position following the absorption of BMN, just like with other types of joint ventures. The bank is going to proceed first to break the contracts and indemnify each partner for a sum estimated to amount to €100 million, according to Expansión, and then it plans to close a new agreement with the winning party. Both partners may have submitted similar bids although it is understood that Aktua offered an exclusively commercial service whilst the agreement with Haya Real Estate included the absorption of the workforce.

The transfer of employees

The new Bankia Group’s property portfolio has a gross value of €5.1 billion, as at the end of 2017, compared with €3.5 billion registered a year earlier excluding BMN’s exposure. The entity has a cushion of provisions that covers 35.9% of its portfolio value in such a way that it could afford to dispose of the portfolio at 64.1% of its initial value without incurring losses. The bulk – 62% – are homes associated with foreclosed mortgages and another 16% are properties received for debt in construction or property development – 48% of that proportion corresponds to land -.

BFA’s subsidiary reduced its problematic assets by 9.9% YoY last year – excluding the incorporation of BMN’s exposure onto its balance sheet – thanks, above all, to sales amounting to €427 million (€5.55 million corresponded to gains) and a 15.3% reduction in doubtful risks.

With the integration of BMN, the bank is being forced to review and rethink all of the contracts where exclusive suppliers operate in both networks. It has already resolved one relating to life insurance, which will see it discontinue BMN’s relationship with Aviva – it will pay that firm €225 million by way of compensation – in favour of Mapfre, which was also victorious in 2016 when the bank came across another duplicate alliance, for the first time (with the same British insurance company, which was also a historical ally of Bancaja). It still needs to settle a similar agreement with Caser, and put the finishing touches to its deals with Lindorff and Cerberus.

Original story: La Información (by Eva Contreras)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre Sold Non-Strategic Properties for €130M in 2017

1 March 2018 – Expansión

In 2017, Mapfre focused the management of its properties on the sale of non-strategic assets for a total of €130 million, of which €124.5 million corresponded to assets located mainly in Spain. That activity generated a profit of €65 million for the insurance company.

The entity sold the building it had occupied on the Madrilenian street Calle Luchana (pictured above) for €72 million, plus two plots of land in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million and other smaller assets for €30 million in total.

At the end of 2017, the market value of Mapfre’s real estate investments amounted to €2.9 billion, with latent gains of €750 million. That figure would offset a decrease in the price of its properties amounting to approximately 26.28% of the market value of the portfolio.

Of that total, €1.0 billion relates to properties that the insurance company uses in its normal activity, whilst the remainder, €1.3 billion comprise group investments.

Mapfre’s real estate portfolio accounts for 4.4% of the insurance company’s total investments, which amount to €49.6 billion.

Its government-backed fixed-income securities account for most of its portfolio (55%) at €27.4 billion, although they have reduced their weighting by 2.3 percentage points, given that previously they accounted for 57.3%. Corporate fixed-income securities accounted for 19% of the total, at €9.6 billion, compared to 20.2% a year earlier.

Insurance companies are natural investors in these types of assets, but in light of the decrease in interest rates, most entities are reducing the weight of their investments in those portfolios and increasing their presence in others that may offer higher returns, although also higher risk.

Equities are the caption that is growing the most within Mapfre’s portfolio, up by 44.2% in one year to reach €2.4 billion. Their weight amounted to 4.8% at the end of 2017, compared with 3.4% a year earlier.

Spanish fixed-income assets, both public and corporate, amounted to €18.2 billion at the end of last year, almost half the total amount, which reached €37.0 billion. The United States of America, with €3.7 billion and Brazil, with €3.4 billion, were placed in second and third position in that ranking.

Original story: Expansión (by E. del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

A&M: Spain’s Top 5 Banks Cut Their Toxic Assets to Below €100bn

18 February 2018 – Voz Pópuli

Good news for the banks. The heavy burden of recent years, their exposure to real estate, is causing less concern, little by little. The work undertaken over the last year has allowed the large institutions to reduce their volume of problem assets (doubtful and foreclosed loans) to less than €100 billion.

That is according to the findings of a report from the consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal based on figures at the end of 2017: the five largest banks (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Sabadell and Bankia) decreased their toxic assets from €145 billion to €106 billion. That calculation does include the transfer of €30 billion from Popular to Blackstone – which will be completed within the next few weeks, – but not the sale of €13 billion from BBVA to Cerberus.

Taking into account the latter operation, the level of toxic assets held by the five largest banks amounts to €93 billion, having decreased by 36% since 2016. Those figures do not include exposure to other entities that also made significant efforts in this regard during 2017, such as Liberbank.

According to the report, after all of the events of last year, CaixaBank is the entity that now has the largest volume of problem assets on its balance sheet, with €27 billion. The group chaired by Jordi Gual has engaged KPMG to undertake a large divestment of its foreclosed assets, but that it is taking longer than expected.

The second-placed entity in the ranking is Santander, with an exposure of €25 billion, which in net terms (after provisions) amounts to €13 billion. Its CEO, José Antonio Álvarez, announced a few months ago that he expects to divest around €6 billion this year.

The third bank in the ranking is BBVA, with €21 billion, before the sale of €13 billion to Cerberus. Once that operation has been closed (scheduled for the end of the first half of this year), it will be the most healthy entity, with the highest levels of coverage.

Plans underway

Sabadell is another of the entities that has made the greatest efforts to liquidate its property in recent months. It decreased its balance from €19 billion to €15 billion in 2017 and is planning big sales this year, provided it receives approval from the Deposit Guarantee Fund.

Meanwhile, Bankia has actually increased its exposure, by integrating BMN, although it will not reveal its plans in this regard until it unveils its next strategic plan (at the end of this month).

The bulk of the work in the sector has now been completed. Nevertheless, the home straight still remains, which is what will be tackled this year, to a large extent. With this, the banks will be able to turn the page and dedicate their resources to granting credit rather than to covering past losses.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake