‘We have an international network,’ said Josep Oliu this weekend. ‘Spanish small companies use our services abroad in establishing positions in those markets. That’s been one of the most important aspects in helping SMEs.’
The commitment echoes the strategy of Spanish-owned Santander in the UK, and is likely to be welcomed by politicians.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has already stated that he hope that the takeover would help to transform lending to SMEs.
Sabadell unveiled its agreed £1.7billion bid for TSB on Friday. Oliu said Sabadell was unlikely to radically overhaul the bank’s business: ‘We are very respectful about the way British banks do banking,’ he said.
Oliu said it was difficult to imagine ‘a bank that wants to develop and have a dominant position if it doesn’t have a substantial branch network’, but he also said that TSB’s branches had to be profitable so it is not sure what the branch setup will be.
TSB boss Paul Pester said the only job losses would be in the investor relations department, which will no longer be needed once the bank ceases to have a separate stock market listing.
Pester will stay on and become a board member at Sabadell and it is not expected that there will be any issue with UK regulators blocking the deal. ‘We are working with them. We haven’t seen anything that could discourage us, we expect some work to be done,’ he said.