Thursday, August 20, 2009
Found an article on this in Norwegian here (originally from the Spanish newspaper El Pais) detailing some of the moves Spanish banks are making to buy up banks in the United States, especially in Florida. Here's some information from the article.
Both Banco Sabadell and Caja Madrid are invading banks in Florida. The state is a window to the Spanish-speaking world and has numerous and rich customers. Florida is the fifth-largest state in terms of population with over 18 million people, and has one of the most dynamic economies in the US. The population is increasing by 1.9% per year. The state has a GDP of over $749 billion - half of that in all of Spain. Miami is seen as a gateway to Latin America, and has a larger population than Norway. Over 60 percent of the city's inhabitants are Latin Americans.
Banco Sabadell already has offices in Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela. With its entrance to the United States it is combining the United States with its operations in the Latin American world.
In July Banco Sabadell bought the Miami-based bank Mellon United National Bank for $145 million. In March Banco Santandér secured the bank Sovereign Bancorp. For $927 million, Caja Madrid bought up 83% of City National Bank of Florida just before the new year, while BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria), which took over Compass Bankshares in Alabama in 2007, in thinking about how to expand.
Caja Madrid said to Aftenposten that the buying was their largest international operation in the history of the bank.
The article continues with some references to Canadian banks also buying into American banks, but notes that they are working in two different areas, with Spanish banks mostly interested in the southeast of the country where they have a cultural and linguistic proximity. What the Canadian and Spanish banks have in common though is that they are able to expand at the moment due to their respective countries having a healthy banking system.