For the time being, next Fridays the meetings of the Council of Ministers will become a barrage of initiatives and projects that all ministers will try to approve before the Cortes dissolves on March 5.
It is striking that the AEB, CECA, Unacc, Unespa and fintech associations sent a statement last Friday in which they claimed the Government as an urgent measure to approve the creation of the fintech sandbox or test bench.
“The financial sector joins its voice to urge the approval of the sandbox,” the statement said. Well, it is very possible that Economy gives priority and can receive the ok not only from the Executive, but from the different political parties before the current Cortes are dissolved.
The same thing happens with the much-befallen mortgage law, since it is only at the expense of Congress voting on the bill, which has been agreed by all political groups to a greater or lesser extent. It will be next Thursday, February 21, when the deputies must say yes to this regulation to which so many hours have been dedicated, and with which it is intended to give greater protection to the client in all senses.
It is also expected to give time to discuss and approve more than one rule included in the findings of the financial crisis investigation commission.
The truth is that despite what may seem, a part of the government team believes that it can arrive on time in the approval of the most urgent or claimed projects, from the area of Economics. Or so it seems, at least.
Meanwhile, and changing the subject, although linked to Economy, the Financial Stability Board (FSB in its acronym in English) has published for the first time a work program for this year.
Among the priorities that it has set for this year is to identify and evaluate emerging risks, also in collaboration with the IMF, with the aim of continuing with the biannual early warning exercise.
This year will take into account several areas, including fintech, especially in relation to regulatory cryptoactives and supervisory issues. Cybersecurity will also be analyzed with special attention, especially the evaluation and information on the best practices related to the response and recovery of a cyber-incident. The audit will be another highlight.
Another priority will be to evaluate the effectiveness of financial stability reforms to verify the need for adjustments. These evaluations include reforms in financing for SMEs, the effects and reforms of the prevailing idea of banks too big to fail, as well as the coherence of market fragmentation. In this last point, the FSB will also identify the tools that national authorities can use to deal with the risks related to this last point.
By the way, the Spanish banking bosses have not yet decided which agency will be chosen to carry the joint communication of AEB, CECA and Unacc, whose main and almost only mission (and complicated challenge) will be to change the image that society has of the financial sector, or what is the same, improve the reputation of banking.
Experts say that the bad reputation of the sector is not something that affects only Spanish banks. The reputation of many financial institutions of several countries in Europe is also quite touched, especially for money laundering issues.
At the moment, CaixaBank seems to have taken the lead in the whole sector in Spain and has decided to change its motto taking advantage of its strategic plan 2019-2021. “Listen to talk do”. Its objective is to transmit more closeness and dialogue with the client. Now it remains to know if this type of messages really works. CaixaBank already has experience in these slogans. In 2002 he launched ¿Hablamos ?, and in 2011 you are the star.
BBVA, which is also looking for an external consultant to help it, especially with the case of the illegal eavesdropping carried out by former commissioner José Manuel Villarejo for allegedly being ordered by Francisco González, had on Friday to use the bank’s employers, AEB, to issue a statement explaining between the two the reasons why the entity has blocked the accounts of thousands of customers, including those of some 5,000 Chinese, who have threatened to report the bank. And what he lacked.
And speaking of reputation, apparently at the end of January, after the presentation of results of Banco Santander to analysts and journalists did the same with its directors and part of the staff. So far everything is usual. What was unusual was that the attendees of this meeting ended with a big hug for José Antonio Álvarez, the group’s CEO.
The reason: it was the first time that many saw Alvarez after the decision of the bank to continue as number two of the group after the unsuccessful and traumatic attempt to sign Andrea Orcel, from UBS, as CEO. And it seems that the directors of the group and the staff are very comfortable working with Alvarez.