The CEO of Banco Sabadell, César González-Bueno, has activated the impact on the entity of 170 million euros for this year due to the new tax on banks. He said it this Thursday during the press conference to present the 2022 results, together with the financial director, Leopoldo Alvear. He has criticized that “the tax burden that banks have is extremely high and disproportionate” and recalled that in 2021 it had a profit of 550 million euros and a tax burden of more than 800 million.
“This does not happen in any sector and less so in sectors with a profitability below the average of other sectors”, he added, and has predicted that in 2024 it will be higher. Asked if Banco Sabadell plans to file an appeal against this tax, he said that it is the entity’s Board of Directors that must decide.
González-Bueno has lamented that there are two “contradictory rules” on whether or not the tax should be passed on to customers, and that one prohibits it and another says that it is a serious infraction not to do so. “There are two contradictory rules and at some point someone will have to tell us which is the priority, because it means a certain defenselessness for those who must manage not knowing which prevails.”
Satisfaction with the results of Sabadell
On the other hand, he has shown his satisfaction with the results of the entity in 2022 and has explained that “it has exceeded all the objectives of the year”. For the current year, he has set the goal of increasing the interest margin between 17% and 19%, as well as a “low-digit” decrease in commissions, while Alvear has indicated that a limited impact is expected on the risk of economic slowdown.
González-Bueno explained that the entity predicts an increase in costs of around 4%, to reach around 3,000 million euros, partly because of the 4.5% increase in salaries agreed in the collective agreement. Regarding the remuneration of deposits, he has pointed out that the first objective will be the reduction of commissions to increase customer satisfaction, since it is “what they least like”. He has said that the “classical and term deposit is not, however, the most attractive formula” and that formulas are being sought that are, in his words, more attractive through guaranteed deposits.
Alvear explained that the entity’s forecasts assume that inflation will reach its peak during 2023 and that a “gentle downward trend” will begin in 2024. “We are optimistic with 2024, not because of a higher interest rate rise, but because a part of the book will be repriced in 2024 and there are tailwinds that will continue to push,” he highlighted. He recalled that the banks recorded the repricings due to the increase in interest rates starting in July or August, so it is expected that “a good part of the book will be repriced this year.”
Asked about the ‘payout’, González-Bueno explained that the increase to 50% of the benefit is due to the fact that the economic prospects have been improving over time and that all the predictions “are clearly improving”. He has recalled the “shocks” that the economy has suffered in recent years and that this was the reason why it was announced at the time that it would be above 40%. He has pointed out that the current perspectives allow us to “see optimistically” 2023 and the following years.