Santander banks on good conduct code

ALFREDO SAENZ, vice-president of Santander Bank, commended recent government measures aimed at helping families with mortgage problems to avoid eviction.

In a letter to Economy minister Luis de Guindos, Saenz praised the new code of good conduct which recommends more flexible conditions for crisis-hit families unable to meet mortgage payments.

In some cases the code contemplates allowing families to remain in their homes for at least two years after eviction has been ordered.

It would also enable those most at risk from social exclusion to clear a mortgage debt by handing over the property, with the lending bank agreeing not to pursue them for further payment.

Adhering to the code of good conduct is voluntary and in his letter Saenz told De Guindos that Santander would adopt the recommendations.

The bank was in favour of restructuring loans, wrote Saenz, who stressed that its efforts would concentrate on the preliminary phase of non-payment in order to avoid eviction later on.

He was also glad, Saenz said, that the code affected neither “the smooth-running of the mortgage system and its guarantees” nor the “culture of payment.”

Saenz’s reaction is in direct contrast to that of the AEB bank association which criticised the code when it was first announced. Banks were being asked to take steps against social exclusion that were the Administration’s responsibility, it claimed.

These opposing views summed up the division of opinions in the sector, banking sources pointed out, although AEB president Miguel Martin said last week that he hoped all banks would embrace the good conduct code.

Not only Santander but also BBVA, Sabadell, Bankinter, CatalunyaCaixa, NovaGalicia and Cajamar Caja Rural have adopted the recommendations, together with 23 cooperatives.

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