Spanish banks’ exposure to Credit Suisse well below 1 billion euros, source says

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) -Spanish banks’ exposure to struggling Swiss lender Credit Suisse is immaterial and lower than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), a source with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

“The total exposure from Spanish lenders to Credit Suisse is well below 1 billion euros,” the source said, without elaborating further.

Credit Suisse in Spain declined to comment.

Another source said that Spanish lenders have been reducing their exposure especially over the last year-and-a-half after a string of scandals at the Swiss lender.

Credit Suisse was hard hit by the collapse of U.S. investment firm Archegos in 2021 as well as the freezing of billions of supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill.

Two supervisory sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the European Central Bank had contacted banks on its watch to quiz them on their exposure to Credit Suisse.

After a slump in its shares intensified fears about a global banking crisis, Credit Suisse on Thursday said it would borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence.

On Thursday, the head of Spanish banking association AEB Alejandra Kindelan said she saw “no risk of contagion to Spanish banks”, adding that domestic banks were well funded and properly supervised.

However, she added that at moments of high volatility the market was not making any distinctions.

Shares in Spanish lenders, such as BBVA and Sabadell, which on Wednesday fell around 10%, rose by up to 3% on Thursday as European stocks recovered, led by a rebound of 22% in shares of Credit Suisse.

Speaking about the collapse of U.S. lender Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the head of the AEB also said that Spanish lenders’ deposit base was totally different to the U.S. tech-focused bank.

“SVB was financed by company deposits and invested in (long-term) public debt and hardly gave out loans,” Kindelan said.

($1 = 0.9428 euros)

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; editing by Aislinn Laing and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)