29 May 2012

Loss-making Spanish bank promises transparency

6:06 am on 29 May 2012

The head of Spain's fourth-largest bank, Bankia, has promised more transparency, a day after announcing huge losses and asking for a bailout.

Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri told a news conference a full restructuring plan would be finalised by the end of June.

On Friday, the bank revised its 2011 results from a profit of €300 million to a €2.98 billion loss, and asked the state for a €19bn bailout.

The Madrid stockmarket suspended trading in Bankia shares on Friday.

The bailout of Bankia would be the biggest of its kind in Spanish history and would largely nationalise the bank.

Mr Goirigolzarri said the bank would use the bailout money to clean-up losses from loans made during the construction boom and protect against future losses.

In the news conference, he stressed how the bank had to look to the future and move on from the crisis.

A BBC correspondent in Madrid reports the fear is that Spain's financial crisis and recession will continue, and more people will default on their mortgages.

Spanish banks, which lent heavily during the property bubble, are seen as particularly shaky as they now hold massive amounts of soured investments.

Shortly after the bank announced its huge losses, rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded the bank, along with four other lenders, to "junk" status.

The government had already intervened earlier this month and awarded Bankia a €4.47bn loan.

Bankia had to reassure savers last week that their money was safe after a Spanish newspaper reported a run on the bank.