Barcelona.—The President of Banco Sabadell, Josep Oliu said yesterday that 300 of the 900 branches of Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo (CAM), which is now owned by Banco Sabadell, are to close.

He refused to be drawn on just how many jobs will be lost following the Bank of Spain's decision last July that there would have to be major cuts in the banking sector.

Asked how the operational structure of CAM would emerge after the closures, Oliu said that the savings bank would continue as a regional organisation and that the shutdowns would be taking place outside its principal business areas. This means that CAM's network in Alicante, Valencia, Murcia and the Balearic Islands would essentially remain in place.

Oliu said that a new operations centre was to be established in Alicante, pointing out at a press conference in Barcelona the importance of Banco Sabadell having purchased CAM. He claimed that the savings bank would regain its profit margins next year.

He claimed that the synergy which would be created by the closures would not only lead to greater efficiency and quality of service to the public but also cost savings of around 330 million euros a year.

A crisis solved
Speaking of the country's financial systems which have been threatened by the economic crisis, Oliu said that a solution has been found using business tools which were already in place years ago - namely a guarantee fund which will provide 5'300 million euros in two stages, largely to enable CAM to balance its books.

Oliu said however that there were going to be two hard years ahead, pointing out that it was Banco Sabadell who alone had rescued CAM in a situation where other financial organisations had preferred to turn their backs. He said job losses would be minimised.

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