Novo Banco CEO ‘does not rule out’ need for new capital injection

  • ECO News
  • 25 October 2018

António Ramalho does not rule out "in any way" a further injection of capital in the Portuguese bank. His counterpart at BCP, Miguel Maya, considers NB a burden on the country's banking system.

The CEO of Novo Banco, António Ramalho, said on Thursday that he did not rule out “in any way” a further injection of capital into the institution, while his counterpart at BCP, Miguel Maya, described the sector resolution fund – which currently controls Novo Banco – as a “burden” on the country’s banks.

“Capital injections in the institution are an inevitability,” said Ramalho at a conference in Lisbon on ‘The Future of Money’, organized by Dinheiro Vivo website, TSF radio and consultancy firm EY, as part of a debate on “the challenges of banking in Portugal”, in which leading figures from the sector took part.

Asked if the new bank ruled out another capital injection on the part of the resolution fund, António Ramalho said: “we did not rule that out in any way”.

The draft state budget for 2019 now in parliament foresees an injection of €400 million in Novo Banco next year, with this value included in the calculation of the budget deficit, but it is not clear how much the resolution fund will have to pump into the bank.

Miguel Maya of BCP, meanwhile, said that this was “a topic that has not been resolved”, although he said that the government’s decision to wind up Banco Espírito Santo and save its ongoing business in the form of Novo Banco, with the help of the resolution fund and a massive state loan, “was correct” at the time.

“But I do not subscribe [to the view] that we will live like this with this burden on our backs,” May said, in a reference to the fact that the resolution fund is ultimate, owned by the banks, and must pay back the money lent to it by the state.

He called for “reflection” on banks’ contributions to the resolution fund, with “dialogue” to establish how “Portugal’s few banks can achieve competitive conditions to operate” in the market, both in terms of legislation and costs.

“I will not rest … until we find a balanced solution for the sector,” he said, pointing out that financial institutions that are not headquartered in Portugal are exempt from having to contribute to the resolution fund.

In addition to the special levy on the banking sector, he noted, BCP must contribute “more than 40 million [euros] per year” to the fund – money that he “would like to take … and invest more in technologies.”

In turn, the chief executive of state-owned Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD), Paulo Macedo, said that Portuguese banking, both in mortgage lending and loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, has “identical or lower prices than in Spain or Germany” but then “there are different burdens for the different levels”.

Not only are foreign banks exempt from contributions to the resolution fund, but a bank headquartered in Portugal has higher financing costs than one based in Spain, he said.