The heads of the five largest banks got together and there was a topic on the table that no one denied, but no one wanted to take up: the sale of Novo Banco.
At the CEO Banking Forum, an initiative of Expresso and Accenture, which took place on Wednesday, May 11, Antonio Ramalho was the first to be asked about the sale of the bank. And the answer was to ask her competitors: “I don’t know, we have them here.” The questions followed.
“I am not worried about who will stay or who will buy Novo Banco,” was the response of BCP CEO Miguel Maya, confirming what he had been saying for some time: “BCP does not have in its strategy growth that is not through membership. Obviously, any process that appears In the Portuguese market […] I can look. But he declared that this is not our strategy at all.
Indeed, “before dealing with Novo Banco”, the government must correct the “burden” that the banks are “carrying”: the extraordinary contribution to the banking sector that finances the settlement fund to repay state loans. “Is it normal or unusual? This is not the problem of the past. Then it had to be done to solve an emerging problem [a resolução do BES]; The worst thing we can do now is face a new reality, not correct it. We must have the courage to solve it, and I hope that this problem will be resolved by the government and the Council of the Republic,” continued the BCP, who was the most vocal on the issue.
Santander kicks out Novo Banco
If BCP does not want to make purchases, the question on the part of Santander does not even appear on a logical level. “The biggest competitor we see is ourselves. The biggest competition is the internal competition for having an organization that can transform itself, more open, with the customer more in the center,” said Pedro Castro e Almeida. He stressed that this would not happen to buy traditional banks.
Santander’s focus is more on “partnerships” both in the financial sector and abroad, taking into account the “group of new competitors”, Castro Almeida continued. What if an operation of this kind was performed by Santander in Spain? The CEO answers: “The parent company has great confidence in the management in Portugal.”
BPI follows the path created
The same was said by BPI’s CEO about CaixaBank: “The parent company relies heavily on Portuguese management.” Regarding the possible acquisition of Novo Banco, which will be sold by Lone Star, “the answer is very simple”: “Fortunately, we’ve been very successful, we’ve gained market share, and that’s the path we’re going to take,” concludes Joao Pedro Oliveira and Sahel
“The issue of consolidation is almost a fetish question, but our main concern is the level of competitiveness,” concludes Oliveira e Costa.
About this, Paulo Macedo did not speak of the initiative, but the situation was to see what is happening in the competitors, because Caixa Geral de Depositos does not want to lose its leading position in the Portuguese banking sector.
Ramalho leaves ‘clearly for all’
Whether 75% of the Lone Star, 23.44% of the Resolution Fund and 1.56% of the state are sold, António Ramalho will never be at the helm of the BES heir.
Regarding the unexpected exit from the bank’s presidency, the CEO defended his announcement “with more than enough time, so that it is clear to all”. “I had an assignment, and I’m leaving the day my six years at the bank,” he confirms. In 2016, even before the sale of 75% of the bank’s capital, Ramalho was called to Novo Banco, which will cease to be CEO in August. He argued that it “was to be” complied with “the principle that a completed task requires a correct exit”. It is doing so after it has come under fire from minority shareholders, government and lawmakers, and while awaiting audits of its management.
After leaving a word of praise to the bank’s staff, the CEO noted that the European Commission’s forecast for Novo Banco was negative, and that this assessment would be made over time.
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