On guessing the collapse of Banco Santander and the Spanish ostrich act

Hobbes, I know that “Spain is different” (or that is what they wanted us to believe), but I am starting to feel really bad news in the horizon. I am no banking expert or economist, but other than the massive unemployment rate that keeps creeping up, the lack of competitiveness (let’s not get into their national haughtiness), and their bizarre definition of competitive markets, the late success of Banco Santander seems to me that is going to end up in tears. Many tears.

My humble opinion is based in an uneducated guess (a very uneducated one, to say the least) but this morning’s article in the FT, Abbey raises mortgage rates, kind of made me think of a doom of gloom nobody is talking about. In a very Spanish fashion, ignore it and it will disappear.

Funny enough, BoE is dropping interest rates and Abbey decides to raise them. It makes no much sense, but I think Santander might have bitten more than they can chew. I know I am being unfair, but two thinks made me think of the potential pain in store:

1. The loyalty of the Spanish government (of any colour) to big Spanish business no matter how wrong that would be (Endesa, anyone? Spanish broadband prices the highest of Europe according to an EU commission report, and instead of looking into it, they fight the report more than the telecom players themselves)

2. Banco Pastor, where I have the mortgage on my Spanish flat, just jacked up the payment from €872.99 to €942.99 without prior communication, and after talking to them, my Euribor+2% was a penalised rate because I cancelled my credit card (which I didn’t, it just expired and got no replacement from them), my debit card (which I didn’t, it just expired and got no replacement from them), and I haven’t been paying in my salary in the account (which I never had, since I leave abroad and it is not possible to do anyway).

I guess this has nothing to do with Abbey, Banco Santander and the like, but it is just the fact that the longer I live in the UK and the more I complain about life north of the English Channel, the more I realise that things haven’t got any better back there.



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