Spanish banks’ exposure to Credit Suisse residual, Bank of Spain says

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FILE PHOTO: Switzerland's national flag flies above the logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Zurich

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) -Spanish banks have only a “residual” exposure to struggling Swiss lender Credit Suisse, Deputy Bank of Spain Governor Margarita Delgado said on Thursday, as officials sought to underpin confidence in the financial sector.

A source with knowledge of the matter previously told Reuters that the total exposure in Spain was well below 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), without elaborating.

Credit Suisse in Spain declined to comment.

Delgado, who did not give any figure, said that it was necessary to strengthen corporate governance as unexpected shocks could not be entirely avoided.

“It was one of the lessons learned during the major global financial crisis and since then, the European and Spanish financial system has made great progress to improve it,” Delgado said. “Crises traditionally reveal failures in the governance and management of different risks.”

Another source said that Spanish lenders have been reducing their exposure especially over the last year-and-a-half after a string of scandals at the Swiss lender, such as the collapse of U.S. investment firm Archegos in 2021.

After a slump in its shares intensified fears on Wednesday about a global banking crisis, Credit Suisse sought to shore up its liquidity and restore investor confidence on Thursday by borrowing up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank.

Delgado said that recent market turmoil should reinforce the importance of global supervisory, regulation and resolution efforts, stressing it was important to “complete the banking union (…) and implement the missing pillar,” such as the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS).

Delgado also said that the collapse of U.S. lender Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) would be unlikely in Europe as the business model of SVB was not comparable to that of European banks.

Whereas in Spain on average 66% of deposits are guaranteed, in the case of SVB just 11% were guaranteed, Delgado said.

On Thursday, the head of Spanish banking association AEB Alejandra Kindelan said at moments of high volatility the market was not making any distinctions.

($1 = 0.9428 euros)

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; editing by Aislinn Laing, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Hugh Lawson)

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