System for accessing the activity and conditions for undertaking it

Since 1 November 2014, the authorisation to form credit institutions in Spain has resided with the European Central Bank, with all the documentation being verified by Banco de España who then presents it to said organisation.
In order to grant the authorisation, a series of requirements concerning the solvency of the new entity, the suitability of its shareholders and senior officers, the professional expertise of the latter and the existence of a good administrative and accounting structure, as well as suitable internal controls are all taken into account.

Once the authorisation has been granted and the institution has been incorporated and included in the Companies Register, credit institutions must register their directors, general managers or similar officers in the Registry of Institutions and in the Senior Officers Register, both in Banco de España.

Community regulations governing banking activities apply the principles of sole licence and supervision by country of origin, whereby all credit institutions authorised by a European Union (EU) member state have what is called the "community passport”. Nevertheless, credit institutions from other member states wishing to operate in Spain, with or without a branch, must be registered in the Banco de España's Register.

Recognition of the Community passport and supervision by country of origin results in the need to ensure a minimum guarantee level for deposits in the EU. Therefore, Directiva 2014/49/UEOpens in new window requires all credit institutions to be covered by a deposit guarantee system and it standardises the main elements in this system. The most recent national provision relating to this can be found in the Real Decreto-ley 16/2011Opens in new window, whereby the three deposit guarantee funds merge into one unified fund: the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions, which was later modified by the Real Decreto-ley 19/2011Opens in new window.

Lastly, there is an additional aspect that affects the undertaking of banking activities: the existence of a single monetary policy which, as for other credit institutions in the euro zone, requires Spanish credit institutions to hold minimum liquidity reserves in Banco de España, as established in Reglamento (CE) 1745/2003Opens in new window.