Alejandra Kindelán, president of the Spanish Banking Association, urged the Spanish and European authorities this Thursday to create a regulatory framework for operations with crypto assets so that banks can offer these services to their clients. “The bank is already in all innovative sectors and does not want to be left out”, assured the representative of the employers’ association that includes Banco Santander, BBVA, Sabadell or Bankinter, among others.
The banking lobby ends three decades under the presidency of former politicians and members of the Bank of Spain
“The risks they have have been highlighted, we have to ask ourselves what kind of protection customers have,” Kindelán acknowledged in his participation in the UIMP summer courses, organized by the Association of Economic Information Journalists, in Santander. “We ask for a regulatory response that limits the risks,” he assured, defending that there are elements of these technologies, such as blockchain, that “are here to stay.”
Kindelán had one of his first public appearances this Thursday as a representative of the banking lobby, after being appointed less than three months ago to replace José María Roldán, whose term was expiring. It is the first time that a woman has headed this organization and the first director of a bank —Santander— to take office after more than two decades of presidents coming from regulators or the Government in the AEB.
In its premiere before the press, the directive has assessed the various pending issues that the sector has on the table. One of them is the creation of the new financial customer defender. The Ministry of Economy presented a draft law to create this new independent authority whose decisions will be mandatory for the entities, which will also be in charge of financing it with a fee for each claim they receive and is admitted for processing.
Kindelán has assured that it is still early to assess this new authority in depth, since it is awaiting the drafting of the rule and its submission to the courts, so changes may still arise. However, he has pointed out that “we are the only country in our environment that is creating a new authority, with binding decisions, with a fee only for entities.” “What we would like to avoid is that it implies more costs, more legal uncertainty in the process of resolving claims”, he added.
They have not been the only criticisms leveled this Thursday against this project. Pilar González de Frutos, who presides over another of the large employers’ associations in the sector, that of insurance companies, Unespa, has previously participated in the same forum. “We defend our specificity, a deposit contract has very little to do with a civil liability contract for the car,” the directive pointed out, referring to the fact that this new authority will encompass claims against banks, insurers and investment funds, instead of be divided as it has been up to now into the Bank of Spain, the CNMV and the General Directorate of Insurance. “We are concerned that concentrating on a single authority technically does not guarantee that it will be treated with due knowledge,” she said. She has also extended the complaint to an old claim from the sector by asking again for an “independent insurance supervisor”, instead of one linked to the Ministry of Economy, as to date.
Kindelán has also recovered habitual complaints in the banking sector that his predecessor in office already reflected in respect of regulation. The directive has indicated that digitization has knocked down entry doors in “the most profitable businesses” for the arrival of new competitors in the sector. Kindelán has pointed out that this causes “asymmetries” between banks and those that are not banks, such as when it comes to having to share data. “The competition has to be on equal terms,” he claimed.
Kindelán has ruled out problems for the banking system due to the process of high inflation that is being experienced and the risks of a slowdown in the economy. “The banks are prepared and willing to help the economy,” she defended. “Delinquency is at very low levels and there are no signs of concern”, she defended.
For his part, González de Frutos has also addressed one of the new laws that affect his sector, publicly promoted employment pension funds, whose rule was finally approved this Wednesday in the Senate. “The intention is healthy but it will not produce the effects that we would all like”, he has pointed out. Among other reasons, he points out that “incentives are scarce” or that this savings model has been “cannibalized” with individual private insurance. The Government has been approving a transfer of tax incentives from individuals to groups, something that has not been liked in the sector, which defends this way for “savings of the middle classes”.