- Press Releases
• “I would dare to say that “la Caixa” is more necessary today than ever before; that its mission is more relevant than ever before; and that its reason for being makes more sense now than ever before. If it did not exist, it would be necessary to create it”, said Isidro Fainé, Chairman of the “la Caixa” Group.
• Isidro Fainé emphasized that the priorities over the next two years would be “safeguarding our reputation, providing standout quality; maintaining our solvency and liquidity; and improving risk-adjusted profitability”.
• “la Caixa”’s CEO, Juan María Nin, added that the bank’s strong balance sheet is the result of "prudent management, allowing us to become a benchmark in terms of solvency, liquidity and asset quality".
The “la Caixa” General Assembly today approved 2012 Annual Financial Statements and Management Reports, both individual and consolidated, as well as the Board of Directors’ Management Report and allocation of earnings. The Assembly also approved the 2012 “la Caixa” Foundation Report and Financial Statements, as well as a budget for 2013 of 500 million euro.
The Chairman of the “la Caixa” Group, Isidro Fainé, addressed the assembly, describing 2012 as a year of “definitive progress for the Group: we have achieved undisputed leadership in retail banking in Spain, while very nearly meeting all the targets of the 2011-2014 Strategic Plan and being one of the few institutions to report profits”.
“I would dare to say that “la Caixa” is more necessary today than ever before; that its mission is more relevant than ever; and that its reason for being makes more sense now than ever before. It is just as relevant as when it first emerged. Indeed, if it did not exist, it would be necessary to create it”, said Fainé at the start of his speech.
Therefore, Fainé went on, “we must continue the process of adapting and reinventing the institution in order to safeguard the essence our mission: providing services to individuals and, in the widest possible sense, driving economic and social development in the regions where we operate”.
“la Caixa” Group consolidates its leadership in the Spanish market
Amid a complex and demanding environment, and having also allocated sizeable provisions, in 2012 “la Caixa” recorded net attributable earnings of 135 million euro, 86.2% less than in 2011. In 2012 “la Caixa” Group made total provisions and write-downs worth 11,058 million euro.
In 2012 the Group consolidated its leadership in the Spanish market, thanks to the hard work of staff at CaixaBank’s more than 6,000 branches, as well as the bank’s close relations and customised services for each business segment and the integration of Banca Cívica.
Furthermore, stress tests on the Spanish banking system demonstrated that the group has a solid equity position, with one of the best solvency levels among all Spanish banks, showing surplus capital of €5,720 million over the mandatory minimum in the adverse scenario.
Close ties with customers have been the key to this success. Fainé pointed out that “it is particularly important that our operations be customer-centric: keeping a close eye on market trends, identifying our customers’ emerging requirements and striving to be the first to cater to them. Making customers the focus of our activities is key to improving our market reputation”.
“If we stay on the present course, we will see trends shift in the near future and economic activity will stabilize”
CaixaBank’s achieved these results amid a particularly complex economic climate, with Europe, according to Isidro Fainé, “heading toward a second recession, threats of a Euro break-up, tight markets, regulatory uncertainty and growing public unrest”.
Discussing the economy, the Group’s Chairman emphasised that “resolving the sovereign debt crisis and a recovery in the Eurozone are crucial for the Spanish economy. If we remain on the present course”, added Fainé, “we will see a trend shift in the near future: if the Eurozone moves into a recovery in the second half of 2013, economic activity in Spain will stabilise”.
Regarding the financial sector, the CaixaBank Chairman said “the challenge at present is still low profitability, which is set to remain depressed”. He also pointed to “contradictions” from new regulations, such as “a demand for increased provisions and new solvency requirements, while calling for more credit at the same time”.
Reinforcing the unique and inimitable “la Caixa” model
At the Assembly, Isidro Fainé described “la Caixa” as “an institution that is used to acquisitions; we have made 77 since the group was founded. Acquisitions not only help to drive up market share, they also bring together mutually inclusive cultures, they help uncover new talent and new enthusiasm, while also improving regional balance”.
Discussing the institution’s financial situation, the CaixaBank Chairman said “our current growth strategy has not required us to sacrifice solvency or liquidity. In fact, quite the opposite: over the last year our solvency has improved – meeting Basel III requirements well ahead of schedule – and liquidity has increased, which on 31 December stood in excess of 15% of the total balance sheet”.
Regarding “la Caixa” Group’s prospects going forward, Fainé said the aim would be to continue adjusting to change “to ensure that we remain true to our “la Caixa” principles, thus serving civil society in three key fields: financial, business and social and cultural.
Isidro Fainé closed his address by looking to the future. He reiterated the Group’s intention over the next two years to place emphasis on “safeguarding our reputation, providing standout quality, maintaining our solvency and liquidity; and improving risk-adjusted profitability”.
Fainé concluded, “We must optimise our unique and inimitable model, and demonstrate that it remains successful and relevant. Our privileged position in the financial industry has been possible because we have remained loyal to our principles of leadership, trust and social commitment; and because all our work is based on prudence, foresight, professionalism and responsibility”.
The primary financial institution for one out of every five banking customers
Meanwhile, “la Caixa” Group CEO, Juan María Nin, recapped the key figures from last year, highlighting the bank's commercial strength, which has seen the bank “gain market share in most products and services, while retaining comfortable leadership in all retail banking segments. Even in the current circumstances, the bank has not stopped lending: in 2012 we arranged 800,772 new loan operations (72 billion euro)”, he added, demonstrating the bank’s strong engagement with its customers.
The “la Caixa” Managing Director and CEO of CaixaBank also pointed to the Group’s ability to generate earnings, both recurrent and extraordinary, as well as its strong balance sheet, “an extremely important priority in 2012, while also evidence of the prudent management that has seen the bank become a market leader in terms of solvency, liquidity and asset quality”.
Juan María Nin continued, “thanks to all the hard work from the Group’s staff, placing customers and their needs at the heart of our operations, we have upheld highly demanding quality levels in terms of service, innovation, developing the finest products and services, and in business growth”.
According to the CEO, the integration of Banca Cívica, which will have an impact as of the second half of 2012, and that of Banco de Valencia, with an impact in 2013, will complement the “intense organic management from our branch network, while reinforcing our leadership and ensuring an appropriate revenue and costs structure as of 2015 for a permanently contracting market”.
Regarding commercial activity, CaixaBank has seen its market share in turnover improve to 15%, a figure than Nin believes “establishes CaixaBank as the leading operator in the retail market, with total market penetration of 26.1%. Our market share as a primary bank is 22.2%, meaning that one out of every five bank customers considers us their primary bank”.
“la Caixa” Foundation budget remains unchanged at 500 million euro
"la Caixa”’s top governing body also approved “la Caixa” Foundation Report, Financial Statements and 2013 Budget, as well as approving 2012 figures. The Assembly authorised a 2013 Welfare Projects budget of 500 million euro for the sixth consecutive year, despite the complex economic climate. This budget makes “la Caixa" Foundation the leading private foundation in Spain and one of the largest in Europe and worldwide.
Isidro Fainé ran through some the main “la Caixa” Foundation programs and activities from 2012, emphasizing that “the number 1 priority for “la Caixa” Foundation is to combat poverty, both here at home and abroad”.
Fainé reminded the Assembly that ““la Caixa” Foundation is our vocation and our reason for being. It is always been “la Caixa”’s ambition to be a driving force behind social and individual progress”.
“la Caixa” Foundation will again focus on key areas such as creating labour opportunities for vulnerable groups, combatting marginalisation and social exclusion (especially child poverty), and providing access to adequate housing for individuals and families facing difficulties.