CaixaBank-Bankia merger deal finalised. archive photo. | Ultima Hora

There's big changes ahead in the Banking Sector; CaixaBank has finalised its merger with Bankia and after breaking negotiations with BBVA, Banco Sabadell has decided to go solo.

After absorbing Bankia, CaixaBank is the biggest bank in the country with more than 600,000 million euros worth of assets, 6,000 branches and around 47,000 workers.

The integration of CaixaBank and Bankia got the green light from shareholders of both banks and is now waiting for authorisation from national and European organisations, which is likely to happen in the first quarter of 2021.

The new CaixaBank headquarters will remain in Valencia with José Ignacio Goirigolzarri from Bankia as Chairman and Gonzalo Gortázar as CEO. CaixaBank Chairman Jordi Gual is stepping down after four and a half years.

The proposed merger between Sabadell and BBVA would have resulted in the second biggest financial group in the country but negotiations broke down in November amid economic disagreements.

Banco Sabadell has grown through acquisitions in Spain and abroad, but has decided to go it alone and develop a new strategy based on the domestic market which will be presented to the market in the first months of 2021.

Jaime Guardiola is retiring as CEO of Sabadell after thirteen years in office and will be replaced by César González-Bueno. President Josep Oliu will leave his executive functions, following the recommendations of the European Central Bank.

Some Analysts are predicting that Banco Sabadell will have to seek alliances with other banks, but others believe merger negotiations with BBVA may soon be back on track.

Elsewhere, Liberbank and Unicaja have decided to re-negotiate their union to create a group with around 100,000 million euros in assets; their merger could be derailed over the distribution of power, but both banks appear to be keen to strike a deal before the end of 2020.

This coupling and uncoupling within the Banking Sector will no doubt lead to adjustments of staff and branches and banks will also face a number of challenges, such as improving profitability and increasing non-loans due to the coronavirus crisis as well as competition from fintech.