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Authorisation of credit institutions

All Spanish or foreign, natural or legal persons, wishing to conduct the activities of credit institutions in Spain, in particular, the taking of deposits and other repayable funds from the public, must have obtained the necessary authorisation and be registered in the Banco de España's Credit Institutions Register.

Law 10/2014 of 26 June 2014 on the regulation, supervision and solvency of credit institutions and Royal Decree 84/2015 of 13 February 2015 implementing the aforementioned law include the legal framework applicable to banks, savings banks and credit cooperatives, without prejudice to other special rules regulating specific aspects in the case of savings banks and credit cooperatives.

The application for authorisation must be submitted by the promoters of the new credit institution to the Banco de España. The Banco de España and the ECB cooperate closely throughout this procedure, with the ECB taking the decision.

The documentation may be written in Spanish or English, although it is recommended that all the documentation be submitted in English since it will be sent to the European Central Bank (ECB).

For the purposes of obtaining the authorisation, the following requirements must be met, inter alia:

  • Adopting the prescribed legal form for the type of institution concerned.
  • Having its registered offices and effective management and administration in Spain.
  • Limiting its corporate purpose to the activities of a credit institution.
  • Having the share capital or minimum endowment fund envisaged for that type of institution.
  • Shareholders, managers or members owning qualifying holdings must be deemed suitable.
  • Its directors and general managers or similar officers must be deemed suitable.
  • Having appropriate administrative and accounting structures, and adequate internal control procedures.
  • Having appropriate procedures and bodies for internal control and communication so as to prevent money laundering.

Also, for the purposes of assessing the application for authorisation, the Banco de España shall request a report, for those matters under its remit, from the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences, from the National Securities Market Commission and from the Directorate General for Insurance and Pension Funds.

If the new credit institution were to be the subsidiary of a regulated financial group, be it a banking, insurance or securities group, the Banco de España will also consult the supervisory authority of that group, particularly if it is a group whose parent company is authorised in Spain or in another EU Member State.

Authorisation of banks

The application must be addressed to the Banco de España; the European Central Bank is responsible for taking a decision on the application upon a proposal of the Banco de España.

The authorisation procedure for the creation of banks, the prior steps to be taken, the documentation which must accompany the application and the time limit for a decision to be made are available at the Banco de España Virtual OfficeOpens in a new window

Authorisation of savings banks and credit cooperatives

The requirements for the creation of savings banks and credit cooperatives are similar to those established for the creation of banks, with the special features inherent to their nature, purpose and operational limitations.

In addition to general regulations on credit institutions, Law 26/2013 of 27 December 2013Opens in a new window on savings banks and banking foundations and Decree 1838/1975 of 3 July 1975Opens in a new window regulating the creation of savings banks and the distribution of the cash profits of these institutions, are applicable in the case of savings banks. In the case of credit cooperatives, Law 13/1989 of 26 MayOpens in a new window on credit cooperatives and the implementing regulations approved by Royal Decree 84/1993 of 22 January 1993Opens in a new window apply.

The application must be addressed to the Banco de España unless it is for a credit cooperative whose area of operations is not outside a specific autonomous community, in which case it shall be submitted to the competent body of that autonomous community that, in turn, will send it to the Banco de España. The European Central Bank is responsible, in any event, for taking a decision upon a proposal of the Banco de España.

The application for authorisation must include the documentation mentioned under the authorisation procedure for the creation of banksOpens in a new window adapted as necessary, to conform to the legal structure and governing bodies envisaged for credit cooperatives.

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