Banks still rule the Spanish roost

The civil war ended the Catholic Church's control of Spanish society, but the banks took over. Now it's time to put a stop to it, writes Joe Haslam in Madrid.

12th May, 2012
Pedestrians pass a Caja Madrid branch advertising Bankia, the new Spanish banking unit formed by merging seven savings banks. Photo: Bloomberg

In Spain, it's the banks that really run the country. In his book The Battle for Spain, historian Antony Beevor wrote of the close relationship that the victors in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) had with the then five major Spanish banks: "In return for their cooperation, they were protected from competition - no new banks were set up in Spain until 1962 - and given great powers in the economy, allowing them to amass...

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