Spain’s current economy consists of three large banks.  These banks have a historical footing within Spain and were created through major mergers and acquisitions.  The three biggest banks are Santader Bank, BBVA, and Popular Bank.  Below, I will review the profiles for each of these banks, the supporting information for their current statuses and acquisitions, and the role and functions each bank plays within the Spanish economy as well as current and future multinational economic expansion.


It is important to note that the term “Banco” within the Spanish Banking System indicated larger commercial banks while the term “Caja” indicates a smaller provincial bank.  Formally, Santander Bank is called Banco Santander.  This bank has been in existence since 1857.  The bank underwent a major merger with The Hispanic-American Bank in 1991 and The Central Hispanic Bank (not the Bank of Spain) in 1999.


These major mergers have positioned Santader to be one of the largest, premier banks in Spain, the Eurozone, and the world.  After the merger, legal eruptions created tension between top executives and accusations of agendas quickly surfaces.  This led to a couple of brief lawsuits that were eventually settled.  The bank is now in post-merger phases without any major legal hurtles within top executive agreements.  Although some negative press emerged within the merger, the post-merger environment for Santader has remained robust and optimistic.  Currently Santander Group is present in Europe, Latin America, North America, and Asia.  The group has over 100 million customers worldwide and is primarily geared towards commercial and retail banking.


BBVA stands for Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.  The BBVA is a multinational Spanish banking group similar to Santader.  The group was formed in 1999 through the merger of two large Spanish entities, towards a centralized banking model for the country of Spain.  The company is traded on the Euro Stock Exchange where individual shares can be purchases.  BBVA’s recent acquisition, a smaller yet extremely successful direct bank called Simple, in 2014 came through announcements of the company’s preparation for competing with the possibility of internet giants such as Facebook or Amazon entering high-regulation banking.  Although it is doubtful that such companies would enter such a market terrain, BBVA’s position is that such market changes within a global economy that is increasing technologically integrated should not be underestimated.  Hence, the process of BBVA’s acquisitions are primarily in preparations for future trends and shifts within global marketplaces with respect to new and emerging ways of integrating banking more effectively with other industries and business sectors.  BBVA has a strong presence in a current 32 countries and is a major player within the Spanish economy with high profile leadership.


Popular Bank Group

Popular Bank has existed since 1926.  Popular Bank is a top banking group in Spain and is listed on two prominent stock exchanges.  Popular Bank Group was created through the merger of seven major segments of the Popular Bank Group expansion activities, which include a national bank, five different local banks, a mortgage bank, a French bank, a Portuguese bank, an online bank, and the expansion of offices in nine countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.  Popular Bank Group remains one of the staples of the Spanish economy, and is an important part of Spain’s continued economic status within the world.  The reach of the Popular Bank Group into Asian and African markets assists the group in maintaining expansion within competitive growing markets with forecasts for increased development within the coming decades.  This positioning is an important part to the internal and futures sustainability of Spanish banking.

This blog explores Spain’s economy and banking system. It describes popular Spanish banks, their current details and their history, current market climates in Spain, and offers guides to banking in Spain. This blog was written to assist users and customers in navigating the Spanish banking system

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *