New bank for sale? Portuguese competitors do not seem to be interested

The governors of the five largest banks have gathered and a subject has been brought to the table that no one denies but no one wants to raise: the sale of Novo Banco.

At an initiative by Expresson and Accenture on Wednesday, May 11, António Ramalho was the first to be asked about the sale of the bank at the CEO Banking Forum. And the answer was to direct the question to its competitors: “I don’t know, we have them here.” And then the questions followed.

“I’m not worried about who stays or who buys Novo Banco,” replied Miguel Maya, CEO of BCP, who has stuck to what he’s been saying for some time: “BCP’s strategy is not growth, which is not organic. Apparently all the activities in the Portuguese market […] can look. But that is not our strategy at all, ”he declared.

In fact, the government should “before dealing with Novo Banco” correct the “burden” that banks “bear”: the exceptional contribution of the banking sector, which finances a resolution fund to repay government loans. “Is it ordinary or exceptional? This is not a problem of the past. Then it had to be done to solve an emerging problem. [a resolução do BES]; Now the worst thing we can do is not fix it in the face of a new reality. We must have the courage to resolve this, I hope that the Government and the General Assembly of the Republic will resolve this issue, ”continued the BCP, who spoke loudest on this issue.

Santander separates Novo Banco

If the BCP doesn’t want to shop, on the Santander side, the question doesn’t even arise on a logical level. “The biggest competitor we see is ourselves. The biggest competition is internal competition for an organization that can change itself, is more open, and the customer is more at the center, ”Pedro Castro e Almeida said. This is not the case with buying traditional banks, he stressed.

Santander will focus more on “partnerships” both in the financial sector and abroad, given the “large number of new competitors,” Castro e Almeida continued. What if Santander orders such an operation in Spain? “The parent company has a lot of confidence in the Portuguese management,” the CEO replies.

BPI follows the path taken

The same is said of BPI’s CEO of CaixaBank: “the parent company is heavily dependent on Portuguese management”. As for the possible acquisition of Novo Banco by Lone Star, “the answer is very simple”: “Fortunately, we have done well, we have gained market share, and we are going to follow that path,” concludes João. Pedro Oliveira and the coast

“The subject of consolidation is almost a fetish issue, but our main concern is the level of competitiveness,” concludes Oliveira e Costa.

Paulo Macedo did not talk about the initiative on this subject, but the attitude has been to look at what is happening in the competitors, as Caixa Geral de Depósitos does not want to lose its leading position in the Portuguese banking sector.

Ramalho comes out “clearly for everyone”

Irrespective of whether 75% of Lone Star, 23.44% of the resolution fund and 1.56% of the state are sold, António Ramalho will no longer be in charge of BES’s heir.

The CEO defended the unexpected resignation from the bank’s presidency that it was announced “over enough time to make it clear to everyone”. “I had a mission, and I’ll leave that day when I’m six years in the bank,” he confirms. In 2016, even before the sale of a 75 percent stake in the bank’s capital, Ramalho was invited to Novo Banco, whose CEO he will resign in August. He argued that “it was appropriate” to adhere to the “principle that the task performed requires the right to leave.” It does so after receiving criticism from minority shareholders, the government and MPs and awaits inspections by its management.

Leaving a word of thanks to the bank’s staff, the CEO recalled that the European Commission’s expectations of Novo Banco were negative and that this assessment would be made over time.

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