The president of CaixaBank, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, doubts that technological giants such as Amazon and Google will have an interest in launching banks, although they may enter into certain financial businesses, to avoid “the curse of the deposit” that forces them to comply ironically and costly regulatory criteria.
Speaking to Servimedia on the occasion of the World Blind Summit Madrid 2021, Goirigolzarri expressed his conviction that the technological giants will want to finance, but without submitting to the harsh regulatory corsets that banks support.
“A loan, without any doubt. A bank, I doubt it more. Why? Well, because one of the very obvious issues in this competitive environment is that there is a question that can be called the curse of the deposit: If you receive deposits, all regulation and supervision fall on him and I don’t think that neither Amazon nor Google have much interest in having these levels of regulation fall on them, “he said.
The banker declared himself “a believer in competition” because “it is good for citizens, it is good for competitors and for banks because it forces you to improve and build muscle”, but he demanded that it be exercised “under the same conditions for all” .
He did clarify that “what cannot exist is that different types of competitors have different regulations because that gives rise to regulatory arbitrations that, ultimately, are not good for the stability of the system.”
The irruption of new operators such as the ‘bigtech’ in business niches that were previously exclusive to the financial sector puts pressure on margins that are already heavily tight due to the negative interest rates suffered by banks since 2016 and a reduction in activity as a result of the covid-19 crisis.
“We have been with negative interest rates for five years,” explained the Chairman of CaixaBank, convinced that this situation is going to last in the light of the world economic scenario, affected by the pandemic, and that we have to assume that it will be a “structural” phenomenon and not conjunctural of the banking business with which it will be necessary to get used to working.
Along with this, he also pointed out the challenge of an accelerated digitization with the confinements and restrictions of the covid-19, which has also precipitated the change of habits among customers and that contributes to lower barriers allowing the entry of new players who, ” logically, they have a legitimate interest in breaking the status quo. “
“What we have to do, based on our undoubted strengths, is to adapt quickly to this new environment,” he said, indicating that precisely the merger of Bankia and CaixaBank is planned with the interest of “facing this environment with more muscle, with more capacity and, ultimately, with greater competitive advantages “.
The transaction involves creating the largest bank in the country, with a volume of assets of more than 600,000 million euros, but he assured that the merger is not to gain size but rather opportunities. “We have not merged to be bigger, but it gives us an extraordinary opportunity to lead the transformation of the Spanish financial system and it gives us the opportunity to face a complex environment,” he explained.