14 October 2016 – Cinco Días
Banco Sabadell is very clear about its future, it wants to take advantage of the boom in the real estate sector to harness the stock of foreclosed assets that it still holds on its balance sheet, which it largely inherited from CAM.
To date, the bank chaired by Josep Oliu has decided to hold onto Solvia, the platform that owns all of its foreclosed assets. Initially, it planned to list it on the stock market, but it quickly ruled out that option. It also studied several offers to sell a majority stake in its real estate platform to large investment funds, like other players in the sector did, including Santander with Altamira and Popular with Aliseda, amongst others. But, it also decided against that idea after it saw demand for real estate grow in recent years.
Since 2013, when the market for the sale of properties became active once again, the heads of Solvia have seen that the transactions that have grown by the most, albeit timidly, are those between individuals. And as such, Sabadell has decided to offer its services to third parties, on both the buy side and sell side. In this way, Solvia “is beginning a new phase in which it is placing its strategic focus on offering its services not only to those interested to buy a home, as it has done to date, but now also to individuals wishing to sell their homes”, explained the bank.
To this end, it is going to restructure its commercial network, by turning Solvia into a franchiser. It will thereby create a network of franchisees with physical branches across Spain. Each franchisee will have the right to sell assets owned by Solvia’s current clients (Sabadell, Sareb and various funds) and by individuals whose homes are located in their respective area. Solvia will also have its own network which, for the time being, will comprise two offices, one in Sevilla and one in Alicante. The idea is that by the end of the year, Solvia will have 12 of its own offices and 24 franchised branches. It will also be able to sell properties through the bank’s branch network. In this way, Sabadell will compete directly with estate agents such as Tecnocasa and Redpiso, for example.
Sources at the real estate agents consulted are certain that other banks will follow Sabadell’s lead. Solvia’s franchisee offer is open to both the network of approved real estate agents (Apis), as well as to other professionals in the sector, such as entrepreneurs and investors. The idea is that Sabadell will reserve a certain number of locations for young people (recent graduates with excellent academic records) who want to start a business and learn on the job.
Since 2012, Solvia has been one of the firms that has sold the most properties in Spain. Its sales have exceeded €2,500 million year after year on a recurring basis, say sources at the bank. An important proportion of these transactions involve the sale of homes and as such, the project to become a real estate agent has been born. (…).
Original story: Cinco Días (Ángeles Gonzalo Alconada)
Translation: Carmel Drake