If you want to navigate the Spanish Banking system, this blog offers information on the diversity of banking within Spain, some of the recent changes, and some of the opportunities for Spanish residents and nonresidents.  First, we begin with a discussion of large banks, then we cover foreign banks operating in Spain.  Next, savings banks and a number of features one can find in different parts of the country.  Overall, the Spanish Banking system is fairly easy to navigate for both residents and nonresidents and offers non-Spanish speakers tailored service in some areas.

Large Banks

There were once numerous different independent banks.  Now, there are more large banks resultant from aggressive mergers and acquisitions within the Spanish Banking System, historical trends towards multinationalization and centralization, and/or integration of banks during market fluctuations and crisis.  Market forces of panic seem to drive towards larger securities and conglomerates.


Santander, BBVA, The Popular Bank Group and Sabadell Group are the four largest banks within Spain that are of Spanish origin with the exception of Sabadell Group.  Each of these banks have a multinational presence as well as a presence within smaller provincial towns and networks that link those towns.  There are still some independent banks in Spain, however, the trend of the Spanish economy is towards large scale mergers and centralized banking, with a small and hopeful emergence of innovative and creative forms of banking based primarily in citizen education and local democratization.

Foreign and Multinational Banks

There are foreign banks that operate in Spain.  Of the largest foreign banks are Chase Manhattan and Citibank from America, Barclays Group from England, the Royal Bank of Scotland as a s subsidiary of Satander Group and Ing Direct Spain.  Each of these foreign banks focus on different products and services for specific segments of the marketplace, sometimes blurring the traditional Spanish distinction in banking between private, savings, and local banking and commercial and retail entities.  As the market becomes more diversified, each bank creates new forms of services that solidify strong portfolios of dynamic offerings that address customer needs at corporate and individual levels, enabling customers to get their needs at one place.  Within a globalized economy, banks that can provide international access to funds with ease across borders and currency fluctuations can also add this feature to their offerings, thus providing customers with a smaller and more manageable global marketplace that is technologically integrated across multiple platforms and channels for convenience.


Savings and Private Banks

Savings banks are part of the common traditional fabric of Spanish banking and are focused in primary domestic and private services, from strict housing lending, to wealth and securities management, to private investment management, to all avenues of insurance.  In Spain, these institutions also have a charitable and cultural preservation roll, supporting their continuity within the fabric of traditional Spanish views of healthy national economic sustainability.

Internet and Direct Service

Ing Direct Spain, a company originally from the Netherlands, is one of the most popular internet banks in Spain.  Its services are exclusively over the internet or phone and cut down on fees dramatically.  In fact, Ing Direct Spain’s popularity is due to it not charging any fees, whereas large banking and traditional independent banking in Spain, in particular, charge exorbitant fees in an effort to maintain the Spanish economy.  Another bank of note, providing a cutting edge internet platform is a subsidiary of Chase Manhatton called EvolveBank.  Each of these types of banks are competitive in offering wonderful rates for savings accounts.


Investment Banks

There are a number of Spanish banks that specialized in investment accounts, services, and products.  These types of banks are also important to the overall health and wellbeing of the Spanish economy, hence, maintain high regulations and restrictions on withdrawals.  Opinions vary as to what preferable and wonderful rates are for savings accounts, and ultimately may be matters of personal preference rather than reflectors of an entire system.  Nevertheless, investment accounts linked stocks and shares can enjoy certain perks.  This is however something that is generally a standard in national and international banking across the globe.

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

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