The fear of a ‘Villarejo’That is what seems to have happened to the Treasury last Friday. On Friday, the Secretary of the Treasury, Carlos San Basilio Pardo, brought together the representatives of the two banking employers, the AEB and the CECA to teach them and explain the new royal decree on direct aid for companies, which includes the code of good practices for banks to adhere to it and which includes the measures to restructure the ICO credits granted to SMEs and the self-employed, the main ones affected by the crisis.
The objective was for the banks to know, before the Council of Ministers approves the package of measures to give direct aid to companies on Tuesday, the part corresponding to the role that financial institutions will play in these regulations. The measures involve the creation of three funds, one to inject direct aid to the companies most affected by the Covid crisis through the autonomous communities; another for debt restructuring endorsed by the ICO, and a third for recapitalization of SMEs that would be managed through the public company Cofides.
So far everything is correct. The surprising thing was when the AEB and CECA technicians were forced to leave their mobile phones outside the room where this draft royal decree was going to be explained to them in order to prevent them from recording or taking photos of the documents that were going to be explained to them. present and comment. They wanted to avoid what is now known as “a Villarejo” (former police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo recorded and photographed the people he met with without their knowledge).
“It seemed that the Treasury was presenting them with a top secret document, and that is supposed to be approved on Tuesday to be applied shortly,” says the manager of a bank who prefers to remain anonymous. “It is not very logical. They asked them if they had any device to record in addition to the mobile phone to leave them out, ”says another executive in the sector.
In the end, the document they were shown was a text of a few pages in which the ICO was enabled to restructure the debt, not only the one it had guaranteed, but also the global position contracted by the company with refinancing needs.
“Companies not only need their ICO credit to be restructured, but all their debt, and in the end this is included in the royal decree that they showed to the bank employers on Friday. They were also shown the code of good practices in which the voluntary nature of the removals and their adherence to this document is included ”, explains a financial source.
Thus, apart from this episode that may pass as anecdotal, the banking system is calmer once the initial idea of the Economy of imposing cuts on credits guaranteed by the ICO and which were assumed by financial institutions has been eliminated from the decree. In the end, the write-offs will be voluntary and will be the last measure to be applied in the restructuring of these loans.
“Economy has realized the serious error that the imposition of the deductions for the banks and for the companies themselves supposed. They were putting the financial sector itself at risk ”, recalls the CEO of a bank. Well, now what is needed is that the aid is applied on time and prevents the fall of thousands and thousands of SMEs and the self-employed, several consulted sources agree.
Another source, who like the rest, does not want his name to appear, commented this Sunday “well, aid, what is direct aid is only 2,000 million euros, the fund that corresponds to manage the autonomous communities, although this figure is will add the corresponding to the European funds. The rest are restructuring of loans with endorsement, or the granting of participative loans ”.
The total volume of aid that the Government will now approve is 11,000 million euros, as announced a few weeks ago by the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez. The objective is that part of these aid is recovered in the future, when companies begin to raise their heads, explains another financial source.
The Santander-Orcel case
And changing third. On Wednesday, March 10, another financial process begins that has all the ingredients to be the cover not only of economic and national newspapers, but also of coated paper magazines. Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander, and Andrea Orcel, Italian banker who could have been CEO of the Spanish group, will face each other before the judge to decide whether or not the former CEO of UBS has the right or not, as he claims, to receive compensation from 112 million euros for his failed signing in 2018.
The trial, totally mediatic and with ingredients to make a movie with scenes including espionage and leaks, coincides with the decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) on the suitability or not of Orcel to assume the position of CEO next April from Unicredit. Added to which is the fact that Ana Botín has been elected president of the Federation of European Banks, replacing the still CEO of the Italian European banking group, Jean Pierre Mustier, who will be replaced by Orcel in Italy.
On Wednesday Ana Botín will declare as representative of the defendant. The morbid is served, although until the last moment Orcel is expected to withdraw the lawsuit, as it seemed he was going to do a few weeks ago, when he was proposed as CEO of Unicredit. Then sources close to him assured that the banker was willing to reach an out-of-court settlement and request compensation well below 112 million euros.
In its claim, Orcel claims Santander this compensation for damages, which includes the salary that it stopped receiving at UBS and the salary that it could have received in Santander, or otherwise it claims compliance with the contract by the Spanish bank, is say, let him be named CEO