Please note that this information is no longer up to date due to the huge reforms and fusions taking place in the banking sector at the moment in Spain. We will update it shortly.
The majority of Spaniards still prefer to get a mortgage with a Spanish savings bank (cajas de ahorros), as opposed to one of the larger private Spanish banks). Spanish savings banks tend to offer better mortgage rates than the larger banks and in general their services are more commercial.
Traditionally the regional savings banks in Spain have always played an important role in their respective regions, and enjoy a high profile in local communities, subsidising diverse cultural, sporting and educational activities.
Unlike other banks in Spain, Spanish savings banks are not owned by anybody and do not have share-holders. They are "semi-public" and their legal status is similar to that of a foundation and is defined by the national confederation of savings banks which decides how the banks should be run. In this sense, the boards of directors of Spanish Savings banks are perceived to be much more representative of the people they serve, because they have to include members drawn from local political institutions, their own clients (drawn each four years at random), and business associations.
By law, all yearly profits of Spanish savings banks must be spent on cultural and educational activities. Each caja de ahorros has a big department called "obra social" (literally "social work") which organizes all sorts of activities related to themes such as environmental protection, health, adult training, activities for ageing people, art, music, sporting events etc. Programmes can be obtained at any savings bank branch.
In recent years, Spain's
biggest savings banks have become more ambitious in exploring markets beyond their
respective regions, setting up branches throughout Spain and even abroad and have
become much more competitive in the Spanish banking sector as a whole. This is
particularly true of La Caixa (Catalunya) and Caja
Madrid, Spain's largest savings banks and, on a more local level, the Cam and Caja Murcia.
|Other useful links|
|Latest news on the property market in Spain Selection of news articles related to the real estate market here.|
|Mortgages in Spain, a brief introduction to the Spanish mortgage market, how it works and interest rates in Spain|
|Spanish banks, before applying for a mortgage, find out more about Spain's most popular banks and Spanish savings banks.|
|Property taxes in Spain, description of taxes involved in purchasing property and yearly property taxes in Spain.|
|Useful Spanish vocab for buying a house - you should learn at least the basic terms. Check out our pronunciation guide too.|
|Renting property in Spain - if you want to buy to rent, then read this section and our free notice board of property to rent in Spain.|
|Spanish lawyers - information on lawyers fees in Spain for property transactions|
|Houses for sale in Spain - take a look at the kind of houses available. Or check out our free Spain property for sale board.|