BBVA plans to lay off up to 5,000 Sabadell employees

BBVA's hostile takeover of Banco Sabadell has shaken the foundations of the Spanish banking sector this week since the entity chaired by Carlos Torres reported it to the CNMV on Thursday. After the vertigo caused by the surprising step taken by BBVA, the Numbers prevail and clarify what the banking giant would be that would emerge from the merger. In the press conference held to explain the operation, the president of the entity limited himself to highlighting the global figures that support his decision to go ahead with the merger despite Sabadell's refusal, because it would mean the creation of a financial giant with 986,924 million euros in assets, which would place it in second position in Spain after CaixaBank and it would be the third bank in Europe, after BNP Paribas and Santander, with a capitalization close to 70,000 million. Together they would have earned more than 2.5 billion in the first three months of the year. Furthermore, it would have a workforce of almost 135,500 employees and a network of 7,115 offices.

And at this point is where the first alarms go off, since Both the staff and the number of offices would be reduced. This is what he himself recognized Carlos Torres when he stated that “there will be layoffs at first, but always through dialogue and without traumatic measures.” All the analysts and experts consulted by LA RAZÓN agree that “it is a simple question of operability and duplicity, as happens in this type of operations. The banking sector has undergone major restructuring over the last decade and will continue to do so. In this case, they would be reduced by a proportion yet to be determined.

In this merger, both squads would suffer adjustments, but it would be Sabadell's that would have to assume the biggest loss. With closing figures for 2023, the Alicante-based bank would provide the new entity with staff of 19,213 people, 13,441 of them in Spain, and 1,414 offices. According to the same sources, at least a third of its workers would have to leave, which would be equivalent to between 4,000 and 5,000 employees. And based on Torres' words, BBVA would also assume a portion of the outflows. “We will be a group with enormous potential, with greater opportunities for professional growth, based on competition and merit,” he defended.

As for the branches affected, analysts have more doubts, since it will depend on the commercial strategy that the new corporation wants to follow, but there will be no less than 400 those that will close, although other sources suggest that the number could rise to 600.

The last major merger in the Spanish financial sector – friendly and with the approval of the Government – ​​was that of CaixaBank and Bankia, in September 2020, which was formalized in March of the following year and gave birth to a banking giant that today leads the sector in Spain. In July 2021, an ERE was agreed that affected 6,542 people and that was fully covered with voluntary resignations, early retirements from the age of 52 and without forced dismissals. Of course, the entity had to face a cost to its coffers of 1,884 million.

The CEO of BBVA, Onur Genç, in the same press conference already warned that “scale is becoming more and more important for commercial banking. And that is because fixed costs grow every day. The bank's first executive gave the example of digitalization, which “although reduces operating costs, it is a fixed cost, by having to have an app with the same functionalities regardless of the volume of clients you have. In the same sense, Torres elaborated that “additional efforts will have to be made” so that the commitment to “creating value” is perceived with all the territories in which Sabadell operates, “and any decision made will always be made from the consensus and dialogue.

But the unions don't believe it. Both CC OO and UGT have shown these days their “utmost concern” about the possible employment consequences of the takeover, at a time when “more people are needed working in banks to accelerate the generational change in the sector.” Although at the moment the number of workers who could be affected by this new merger is not known, the unions have already warned that they will not accept forced measures, and “even less so at this time when both entities have presented record profits” for 2023. and the first quarter of 2024. “We will not allow the workforce to always pay for mergers.”

The Government has also shown its rejection of this operation and its concern about the labor consequences of this merger, especially the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diazwhich has warned the president of the entity that this banking concentration movement will cause “very pernicious effects on the economy because it will greatly harm the employment and economy of families. “We will not allow workers to always pay again.”

From the PP, voices have also been raised against the merger and the loss of employment, especially from the Valencian Community. Your president, Carlos Mazónbelieves that this operation “destroys value, work, territory and competition” and, furthermore, it goes “against “Alicante”, in whose capital the bank's headquarters are located, where they work 500 people between different departments of Sabadell, and whose jobs they would be in danger BBVA having confirmed that the headquarters would move to San Cugat del Vallés.

For now, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) will analyze the complaint raised on Thursday night by Banco Sabadell regarding the information that BBVA provided this Thursday about its takeover bid. Sabadell sent a communication to the CNMV in which it states that The documentation on the operation provided by BBVA and the information offered in the meeting with analysts violate the legislation on takeover bids and “introduce incomplete data that may affect the market.”

Sabadell's intention is for BBVA to inform the market about the identity of the relevant shareholders who, as revealed the day before yesterday by the president of this entity, Carlos Torres, would have expressly shown their interest in attending the hostile takeover bid formulated by the bank of Basque origin. In any case, it is an operation whose result would not be known, as confirmed by Torres, for a while. period of six to eight months, and it would not end until more than a year had passed. The “war” in banking is going on for a long time.