The Fall of Spanish Cajas: Lessons of Ownership and Governance for Banks
51 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2014 Last revised: 18 Feb 2017
Date Written: February 17, 2017
Ownership, governance, and institutional diversity among banks are a subject of public and regulatory concern. This paper addresses this issue by using a case study of Spain, where the retail banking market was split evenly between shareholder and stakeholder banks before the crisis. We examine how institutional diversity mattered in the accumulation of risk in the pre-crisis years, in the severity of losses caused by the crisis, and in the resilience to recover from the losses. The method of analysis consists in linking the risk position of the banks in the pre-crisis period and the losses arising during the crisis to the decisions of banks to migrate from business models based on deposit financing to models based on market-debt financing. We find that cajas migrated to more vulnerable business models following the strategy of the shareholder banks, but the losses in the crisis were much higher in the former than in the latter. The paper interprets this result as evidence that what matters the most about the ownership of banks is their resilience in bad times.
Keywords: Ownership of banks, governance, banking crisis, Spain, cajas, business models
JEL Classification: G21, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation