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Spanish banks threaten to exit Catalonia

Spanish banks threaten to exit Catalonia

(21 September 2015 – Spain) Should Catalonia secede from Spain, domestic banks threaten to pull out of the newly created state. The move would mean the region could no longer use the euro currency.

A joint statement released on Friday from the Spanish bank and savings bank associations said the region’s independence would create serious legal uncertainty for banks doing business in Catalonia.

“These difficulties would oblige the companies to reconsider their strategy of being present” in the region, with the result that Catalonia would face financial exclusion and higher borrowing costs, the banks said.

The banking associations that signed the statement represent Spain’s main lenders, including Banco Santander SA, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, CaixaBank SA, Bankia SA, Banco Sabadell SA and Banco Popular Espanol SA.

With assets of about 340 billion euros (A$535 billion), 5,345 branches and more than 33,000 staff, CaixaBank, based in the Catalan capital Barcelona, is the bank with the biggest business in Spain. Sabadell, Spain’s fifth-biggest bank, is also Catalan-based.

The banking lobbies are entering the debate about Catalonia’s future as the region braces for elections on 27 September. Polls indicate that pro-independence parties will win a majority in the regional parliament. 

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