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Spain’s New Groups of Savings Banks Have to Grow, Rato Says

Many of the groups of lenders emerging from the restructuring of Spain’s savings banks will have to be bigger than they are now, said Rodrigo Rato, chairman of Banco Financiero y de Ahorros.

In a year’s time, the size of some lenders will have to be substantially larger than at present, said Rato, speaking to reporters at a news conference in Valencia, Spain today.

With assets of 328 billion euros ($453 billion), Banco Financiero, which resulted from a merger of seven savings banks led by Caja Madrid, is the biggest group to emerge from the consolidation of the industry spurred by tougher rules on capital set by the government.

Caja Espana-Caja Duero is in talks about merging into Grupo Mare Nostrum, though no decision has been taken, the savings-bank group said in a filing to regulators today. The number of savings banks in Spain has dropped to 17 from 45 as the restructuring process gathers pace.

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