Spanish Banking Association: The challenges of Alejandra Kindelán in the banking management | Business

Last Wednesday, José María Roldán Alegre said goodbye, with the bonhomie that characterizes him, to his colleagues on the executive committee of the CEOE, of which he has been an active member for the last eight years as president of the Spanish Banking Association (AEB). , which will leave on April 5. It served to review the current situation, from the exit of the pandemic crisis to the entry into Ukraine, and he stopped at the challenges facing the financial sector, which his replacement, Alejandra Kindelán, will have to face. Oteyza.

Kindelán will be the first woman at the head of the powerful banking bosses in its 45 years of existence, after Rafael Termes Carreró, José Luis Leal Maldonado, Miguel Martín Fernández and the aforementioned Roldán passed through its presidency. With Kindelán, head of Banco Santander’s Study Service, there is a return to the original model of appointing a manager from one of the partner entities, as happened with Termes, who had held senior positions in the now-defunct Banco Popular. The former Leal minister, although he had worked at Vizcaya, responded more to a neutral profile, like Martín and Roldán, who came from the Bank of Spain and added the more technocratic facet.

Roldán, who could have continued because the position has no term limits (Termes served 23 years, and Leal, 16), announced his departure last year, which opened the spigot for speculation. Kindelán’s name, trusted by its president, Ana Patricia Botín, and with good relations with the rest of the entities, immediately came to the surface. Practically, it was the only one that was handled seriously, since the condition of qualified person, with experience in the banking business and knowledge of economic rules was fulfilled and, above all, it satisfied the preferences of the banks to elevate the position to a woman. And, as if that were not enough, he comes from Santander’s payroll. Kindelán knows the institution well, of which he has been part of different kinds of commissions, and his voice has been one of the most respected, beginning with that of his predecessor.

In those coordinates, he finds many homework done, such as the recovery of profitability and solvency from before the pandemic, which has marked the last exercises of Roldán, who has not exactly had a path of roses in the constant process of transformation. The Teruel executive made his debut with the throes of the mortgage bubble, he had to live with the fall of bank values ​​on the Stock Exchange; some reputational problems of bank leaders; integration operations and adjustments of branches and templates; negative rates and pressure on margins; the increase in commissions, and now he says goodbye in the middle of a war with inevitable effects on the economy after having faced the covid crisis. In this, the bank was quick to finance the companies through ICO credits worth 100,000 million euros. Precisely, the employers have been opposed to extending terms because this would create delinquency and would harm the granting of new loans. He also had to preach the necessary digitization and promote sustainability practices and corporate social responsibility.

Rigor, adaptation to changing circumstances, defense of the relevance of the sector in a modern economy and transparency are the principles that Roldán leaves to Kindelán and that will allow her to put on the long lights to see from afar the social repercussions beyond of the income statement, which will surely improve with the foreseeable rise in rates. But it will be up to him to open his focus to the threat of the ghost of stagflation (inflation with stagnation) that is increasing due to the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. And the revival of the stock problems that plagued many banks in the seventies, although now they are much fewer, stronger and more liquid. That makes it difficult for banks to become a source of fragility for the economy again.

One of the first actions, already started, is care for the elderly, whose movement led by Carlos San Juan mobilized the bank and Vice President Nadia Calviño. Kindelán will also have to deal with other challenges, such as participation in European funds, and facing the threat of cryptocurrencies or shadow banking. And, as a pending issue, is the possible merger with the employers of the old savings banks, the CECA.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


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