Sabadell sets itself a challenge to double its weight in companies in Madrid and match Catalonia

The arrival of César González-Bueno as the new CEO of Banco Sabadell has been a complete revolution for the entity. It has changed its entire organization chart and way of operating. Thus, now each division has its own income statement, for which their respective managers are responsible. Nothing works like before. The objective is to give confidence to the market, maintain its independence and improve its profitability and income statement.

One of the main legs of the new structure of Sabadell is the business and network division, headed by Carlos Ventura, who before the changes was the head of Sabadell Spain. This division represents 70% of the entire bank’s business in Spain. Ventura, like the rest of the executives, already has its roadmap, despite the fact that the group’s new three-year strategic plan has not yet been presented, although it is practically completed, only in the absence of touch-ups.

One of Ventura’s challenges for the coming years is to gain ground in companies in Madrid, a key area for the bank, especially if one of its objectives is to grow more in the domestic market. Thus, “one of our challenges is that Madrid has the same weight as the territorial ones of Catalonia and this (Valencia, Murcia and the Balearic Islands), and that now it is 30% in both, while in Madrid it is 15%”, he explains this executive, who justifies this lower influence of the territorial center in which it has always grown organically, while in other regions there have been purchases.

In Catalonia, the bank’s business is 67,000 million euros, while in the eastern region it is 57,000 million, and in Madrid it is reduced to 40,000 million euros.

In this way, Madrid will have to attract more than 30,000 million of business to match Catalonia.

“The recovery of SMEs will be spectacular. It will go like a rocket ”, predicts Ventura

The idea is to reach this weight in Madrid “in three or four years”, declares Ventura. To do this, the bank has launched the hiring of 200 company account managers, young graduates without experience who want to make a career in the bank, and who would initially be tutored by experienced managers, explains the manager. So far, the bank has received more than 2,000 applications. “Growing up in Madrid with these new hires is a strategic bet,” he says. “Growing up in Madrid is a pending issue for the bank,” he acknowledges.

There are currently 400 business managers in Madrid, to which 140 more will be added from these new additions. “At the moment, we have carried out a pilot test, the Madrid Ambition Plan, and it has worked very well,” says Ventura, who, although he does not want to reveal the possible office closures and a new staff cut that will include the strategic plan, considers that the number of Managers will not decrease, nor does he expect a drastic cut in offices in the region, although he explains that it will be the strategic plan that will mark the adjustments.

It recognizes, however, that it will tend to large offices. The bank’s first mega-branch opened in Madrid two years ago, to which another 34 will be added throughout Spain, of which around five will be in the central territory.

Banco Sabadell has 150 offices in Madrid, with a million business clients, of which 800,000 are micro-SMEs, businesses and the self-employed, another 100,000 are SMEs and companies and another similar figure corresponds to institutions. Madrid’s market share in the business segment is 5%, after growing in recent years by more than 1.5 percentage points.

Blanca Montero leaves the bank and is replaced by José Luis Montesinos in institutional business

The bank, as always happens when other entities face merger processes, also hopes to take advantage of the integration of Bankia and CaixaBank to gain market share, acknowledges this executive, who is not concerned that the agreement signed with Bankia on ATMs will end in three years. “Our clients use our ATMs, which are very active,” he explains, adding that at the bank “we are investing in ATMs. Although the customer uses the card or mobile to pay, he needs the ATM to withdraw cash ”.

Ventura is convinced that once the population has been vaccinated against Covid “the growth of micro-SMEs, businesses and freelancers will be spectacular. Despite how hard the crisis caused by the pandemic has been and is, the recovery will go like a rocket. ” He claims to be surprised “by the resistance capacity of the Spanish industrial fabric.” In addition, it does not expect a great sudden of the delinquency once the palliative measures of the Government end.

FAILURE TO COVER THE EAST TERRITORIAL

The new organization chart of the business and network banking division does not have signings, although it does imply a change in the functions of a large part of the executives included in the new structure. At the moment, it only remains to name the person in charge of the eastern territory, one of the bank’s main ones, which covers Valencia, Murcia and the Balearic Islands. Until now, the manager responsible for this territory was José Luis Montesinos, who has moved into the new structure to run the institutional business, after the forthcoming departure of Blanca Montero, a manager who has always been linked to the entity.

The new division of companies is focused on growing geographically and by business specialization, since it considers that the needs of a health center are not the same as a business. Added to this is the network of companies.

Carlos Ventura assures that with the new divisions the focus has been on growth, something necessary once the crisis derived from the pandemic ends. “We must recover the pride of belonging,” says this manager who is optimistic and believes that in the second half of the year growth will be positive and the aftermath of Covid will not be as negative as expected. At the moment, he does not expect a sharp increase in non-performing loans.

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