6 January 2015 – Expansión
AEB/ The Chairman of the bankers’ assocation says that the current battle for mortgages indicates that the financial sector is still competitive, despite the concentration of entities.
The on-going battle between banking institutions to offer new mortgages is a clear sign that the system is performing well following the restructuring of the last few years, according to the Spanish Banking Association (Asociación Española de Banca o AEB). Its Chairman, José María Roldán, said yesterday that it demonstates “that we have a competitive financial system. We are seeing a very strong degree of competition, to the extent that opportunities and confidence have allowed, and I believe that this is very encouraging. The most important thing is that the choice of loan is appropriate in terms of risk. All of this indicates that, despite the process of concentration that has taken place, healthy competition is still very much alive”.
Roldán was speaking at the Conference on the Spanish banking sector, organised by the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (el Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas or IVIE). In his speech, he said that the most important thing right now is that demand for credit in Spain is returning. “Excessive leveraging has been corrected, in some cases loans have been written off and in other cases they have been refinanced, and so we now have sectors with less debt, which the uncertainties would not allow to commit to any investment projects”, he explained.
Now “we are in a situation in which the banks are fully prepared to finance the process of economy recovery, financing rates are very low and demand for credit is beginning to return. At present, there is strong competition between banks to grant loans. Although that does not mean that everyone asking for a loan will be granted one”.
Nevertheless, he considers that it is “difficult to predict when bank credit (on an aggregate basis) will begin to grow, since it depends on two processes. One, in which economic agents with good financial standing are able to demand and obtain credit, and the other, whereby the agents that are still heavily indebted are continuing to service their debts”.
But he reiterated that “that is not the most important thing. What is important is that demand for credit is increasing and that financial institutions are prepared to meet it”.
Original story: Expansión (by J. Brines)
Translation: Carmel Drake