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Spanish law firm Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira has launched a multidisciplinary team to specifically advise the country’s troubled savings banks.
The team includes a former member of Bank of Spain’s legal team. Fernando Minguez, who was an inspector of Bank of Spain, joined the firm in 2006 and was promoted to partner in 2008.
Savings banks, or Cajas de Ahorro, have regional rather than national coverage and represent about 50 per cent of the Spanish credit market.
They have been particularly affected by the financial crisis because while they have been highly exposed to the housing sector there are limitations to their ability to raise new finance on the open market.
As a result of a lack of liquidity, at least one savings bank - Caja Castilla La Mancha - has already been intervened by Bank of Spain and a number are in the process of merging.
Cuatrecasas corporate and M&A partner Fernando Vivar, who is leading the initiative along with tax partner Javier Laorden and regulatory partner Jesus Mardomingo, said: “We’re anticipating mergers between the savings banks, which will be selling their assets and networks of branches. The key date is the closing of accounts on 31 December 2009. We wanted to give a prompt response to the market by acting in a coordinated way.
“We think it’s unique, we’ve created a multidisciplinary team including former Bank of Spain lawyers,” he added.