Catalonia’s bid to separate from Spain had prompted investors to dump bonds issued by the region’s two biggest lenders, CaixaBank SA and Banco de Sabadell SA. Today, in a signal that the banks are taking thelikelihood of Catalonia independence very seriously, Sabadell has called a board meeting to approve a change of headquarters outside of the region.
The last few days’ drop in Catalonia’s biggest bank bonds has prompted an even more serious reaction by the banks themselves.
Sabadell notified the Spanish stock regulator CNMV that it will hold a board meeting today at 5pm local time on the possible change of location of its corporate HQ.
Bloomberg reports that the move was prompted by “uncertainty” from the challenge presented by independence movement, citing unidentified people in the market.
Sabadell officials offered no denial, saying HQ change would be to guarantee the legal safety that’s currently provided by the European Central Bank.
And as is clear, this is having a positive impact on the bonds (albeit modest).
Furthermore, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told Bloomberg this morning that Catalan banks have indicated that if this process goes on, they are totally open to relocate their headquarters to other places in Spain.
Speaking on Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview, de Guindos slammed the Catalan administration for its illegal actions and said independence is out of the question. Spain has nothing to discuss with the secessionists until rule of law is restored, he said. The instability may persuade Catalan banks to shift out of the region, he added.
“They have indicated that if this process goes on, they are totally open to relocating their headquarters to other places in Spain,” de Guindos said.
“This is a clear indication of how insane is the regional government of Catalonia.”
The bottom line indication from these moves is simple – the banks (and the government) are increasingly convinced that Catalan independence is going to happen.
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