Bankia is once again in the news, this time fortunately, it is not requesting another bailout. The complete opposite is happening as in fact, the Spanish Government has begun to sell its shares in that bank as it struggles to remain solvent. The government used 18 billion Euros of EU funds to bailout the flagging bank and currently owns 68%. The idea is to sell up to 18% of its shares to private investors.
Bankia president, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, has indicated that the bank has a plan of its own towards the privatization of the financial entity. They hope to follow in the footsteps of Lloyds Bank by carrying out the privatization in phases by means of qualified investors who will keep the bank afloat by injecting liquidity. Initially Bankia intends to sell of between 5 and 10 per cent of its shares to achieve its goal in the space of two years.
In 2012, the bank’s productively dropped from 19.2 billion Euros to a “mere” 512 million Euros in 2013.
On a personal note; as a Bankia customer myself (and an unhappy one at that!), I follow this case as much as possible in the hope that an appropriate solution is found and that the public and its customers are duly compensated for their troubles. After experiencing first hand, the transition from what was La Caja de Canarias to Bankia, I can confirm that it was an unnecessarily hard process where customer service is now essentially non-existent. Its staff prefer to find ridiculous excuses to justify the lack of service (what do I care if you are unhappy with your new bosses, your salary or the way you’re being treated when I have gone in to ask why on earth my bills aren’t being paid even though the funds were there?!).
That is nothing in comparison to my feelings about being charged on average 18 Euros per month towards “commissions for maintenance and administration of the account”. As far as I can see, Bankia is using and abusing its customers to pay off their debt from the bailout and what is worse, the staff cannot even explain the reason why commissions have increased so much or what they do exactly to “earn” that money. The solution or quick fix? Since Bankia holds my mortgage and despite a lot of effort on my part to transfer it to another bank, the only thing I can do is use the bank as little as possible and work from the other accounts I have had to set-up elsewhere.