The Savings Banks of Spain are private foundations which combine two functions, one financial and the other social. As financial institutions, the Savings Banks manage more than half of the resources invested by domestic companies and households, and are the leading players on the credit side of the financial system. Within the social aspect of their financial activities, the Savings Banks focus particularly on avoiding financial exclusion and promoting economic development and social progress within the communities where they are based.
Although a social focus informs all of the Savings Banks' activities, this commitment is most clearly seen in the various socio-cultural projects organised under the Obra Social scheme. A significant part of the Savings Banks' surpluses, 25.5% of net profits in 2008 (over €2 billion), is allocated to the main social needs, such as social inclusion programmes for those groups suffering the greatest problems and help for the most needy. The environment, education and research, cultural activities, the restoration and preservation of historic and artistic heritage represent the other areas where the Obra Social is particularly active.
At the death of the absolutist King Fernando VII in 1833, the new policy made it possible for Spanish liberals arriving from the exile in England and France, and so began a series of political, social and economic innovations along the lines of these European countries. Thus, the idea was conceived of establishing Savings Banks on the English and French model, which would enable workers in the future to support themselves using their own means.
The first Saving Bank to be established in Spain was the Madrid Savings Bank, which opened in 1839 and was the model to establish Savings Banks in Latin America. Since then, the number of Savings Banks in Spain has change along the years. Today, 2008 there are 45.
Different phases may be identified in the history of the Spanish Savings Banks:
Features of this period:
By 1900, 65 Savings Banks had been established. They were private and personal foundations, local corporation and municipal and district councils, agricultural syndicates and some church organisations.
1926-1964: The social phase
1964-2009: The economic/financial phase
In 1928, the Spanish Savings Banks Association (CECA) was founded as the representative body of the sector, being also a credit institution with no specific limitation which provides the Savings Banks with products and services within the technological and financial areas.
2010 - : New Regulation
In order to adapt the Spanish Savings Banks to the new global Financial environment, a new legislation allows to choose among three different models of corporation. These new possibilities permit to the Spanish Savings Banks to reinforce their core capital and to preserve the identity as social institutions, so in 2011 the industry offers 17 corporations from 45 in 2009.
Refs: CECA 2009 , Titos 2001Useful Links:
Documento del mes nº 1. First CECA building (1928)
Documento del mes nº 2. Promotion and advertising of child savings. Piggy banks of CECA
Documento del mes nº 3. Anthem to the Savings
Documento del mes nº 4. I I National Exhibition on Savings
Documento del mes nº 5. Birth of the magazine Ahorro
Documento del mes nº 6. Report on the first financial year 1928.
Documento del mes nº 7. History of a logo1928 – 2012
Documento del mes nº 8 Inauguration of ICCA-CECAB building in Calle Alcalá 27, Madrid (1947)
Documento del mes nº 9 Including the teaching of savings in education of children
Documento del mes nº 10 The Savings Book (El Financiero, 1929)
Documento del mes nº 11 The design submitted by CECA is chosen for the new symbol of the European Savings Banks Group (1988)
Documento del mes nº 12 II International Savings Congress,
first time CECA attended (London, octubre 7th-11th, 1929)
Documento del mes nº 13 Promotion and publicising of savings: ¿How were first exhibitions?
del mes nº 14 CECAB´s 25th anniversary
Documento del mes nº 15 Universal Day of Savings: origin
and use of posters for promoting
del mes nº 16 Savings Bank´s Public Libraries
del mes nº 17 Photo from Filippo
Ravizza y Miguel Allué Salvador
Documento del mes nº 18 Savings through history and
litterature. Promotion and publicising of “Caja de Ahorros
y Monte de Piedad de Palencia”
del mes nº 19 “El Instituto de la Mujer que Trabaja” of “Caja de Pensiones
para la Vejez y de Ahorros de Cataluña y Baleares”
del mes nº 20 Savings Statute, 1929
Bibliography for the History of the Spanish savings banks
List of articles or free chapters published by FUNCAS Literature on the History of Pawnshops in Spain
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