Unicaja and Liberbank increase their assets by 15% in their last quarter alone

The old Andalusian and Asturian savings banks will merge, having captured almost 6% more deposits.

Manuel Azuaga, president of Unicaja, and Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank.

Unicaja and Liberbank They have already presented what will be their last solo accounts and face the final stretch towards their integration next June. Although they have yet to receive the approvals of the corresponding authorities, their managers are confident that the first quarter of this year will have been the last they have experienced separately.

These two entities arrive at the merger after having expanded their assets by almost 15%. Separately, Unicaja increased its assets on balance by 17.8%, to 65,516 million euros, while Liberbank did so by 10.2%, to 47,287 million.

Altogether, they increased it by 14,5% in the first quarter, up to 112,803 million euros, which implies a higher rate than the rest of the big banks, a group to which the new Unicaja will join in a few weeks as the fifth largest bank in the country.

Taking the business in Spain as a reference, Santander increased its assets by 12.6% in the first quarter compared to the same dates in 2020, while Sabadell 9.9% did so. BBVA, for its part, it reduced it by 4.4%.

In addition, the old Andalusian and Asturian savings banks, which will be integrated before next summer, will arrive at the merger having captured almost 6% more deposits in the first quarter compared to the same dates last year, reaching a volume of 88,552 million euros.

They stand out from the sector in provisions

The merger will take place in a year that will not be exactly easy for the sector, as it waits with uncertainty for the arrival of the hangover from delinquency that will leave the pandemic, about which there are few forecasts.

Unicaja and Liberbank continued to allocate extraordinary provisions to mitigate this impact in the first quarter, some 25 million in the first case and another 38 million in the second, thus distancing itself from the general trend of the rest of the sector, which ends the extraordinary provision despite warnings from the Bank of Spain that the effort in 2021 and 2022 should be “similar” to that of 2020.

Manuel Azuaga, president of Unicaja, and Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank.

Manuel Azuaga, president of Unicaja, and Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank.

However, both banks are not yet noticing the effect of the pandemic on defaults, as is the case in the rest of the system, given that delinquencies remain at a minimum, below 5%, thanks to the support measures for the economy.

The Andalusian bank closed March with a delinquency rate of 4.2% (0.5 percentage points less than a year earlier), while the Asturian bank did so at the level of 2.89% (compared to 3.2% in March 2020).

only of the months

The merger of both entities is about to caramel. At this time, Unicaja and Liberbank await the arrival of the pertinent authorizations to be able to execute the legal integration, including that of the European Central Bank (ECB), which its managers expect “very soon”.

“It does not depend on us. We cannot confirm when it will happen, but it is a matter of time ”, he explained. Paul Gonzalez, financial director of Unicaja Banco, during the presentation to analysts of the entity’s results.

Then those of the other supervisors will have to arrive, such as the Bank of Spain, the CNMV, the Competition authority, the insurance sector supervisor and, finally, that of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Only then will both banks become just one and the new Unicaja will have to face the collateral effects of the merger, such as the restructuring of the workforce and the commercial network.