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Economy and Banking Sector of Spain

Southwestern Europe
Population  (2016)
46 438 422  (0.00%)
EU Status
member since 1986
EUR (Euro)
Nominal GDP (2015)
1 081.2 bln EUR  (+0.02%)
Credit Ratings (as of Sep 2016)
Consolidated Banking Assets (2015)
3 664.41 bln EUR  (+2.47%)
Deposit Guarantee
100 000 EUR
Number of Banks

Spain is a developed country in Southwestern Europe. After the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain managed to make a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy accompanied by rapid economic modernization, which allowed Spain joining the European Union in 1986.

In early 2008, the global financial crisis burst Spanish property boom resulting in a severe economic recession from which Spain is yet to recover. Nowadays, tourism is the most important service sector of Spanish economy, contributing about 10% of GDP, while fertilizers and chemicals are the most prominent industry sectors in Spain. Although Spain has been traditionally an agrarial country, agriculture now contributes about 3% of Spanish GDP.

Spanish banking system was deeply affected by the financial crisis: in June 2012 Spain requested 100 bln EUR to recapitalize Spanish banks. Series of mergers and acquisitions took place in 2009-2014 resulting in significant decrease in the number of banks operating in Spain and enlargement of the remaining banks.

List of Banks in Spain

National Currency

Euro (EUR)

Spain joined the Euro Area on 1 January 1999.


Nominal GDP (2015)Nominal GDP per Capita (2015)Real GDP Growth (2015)
1 081.2 bln EUR  (+0.02%)23 300 EUR  (+0.02%)3.2 %  (2014: 1.4 %)

According to Eurostat, nominal GDP of Spain in 2015 was 1 081.2 bln EUR.

Spain underperforms the European Union in terms of real GDP growth with the average annual differential coming to 0.0% over the past 10 years (2005 - 2015). In 2015 real GDP growth was 3.2% which was above the Euro Area average (1.6%) and above the European Union average (1.9%). Real GDP growth in 2016 - 2021 are IMF's estimates.

Real GDP Growth in Spain. Chart 1. Real GDP Growth in Spain. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.

In 2015, nominal GDP per capita in Spain was 23 300 EUR.

Spain has a below-average level of wealth in terms of per-capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP); this economic welfare indicator has, on average, fell behind that of the European Union by -5.3% over the past 10 years (2005 - 2015). GDP per capita at PPP in 2016 - 2021 are IMF's estimates.

GDP Per Capita at Purchasing Power Parity in  Spain; European Union = 100. Chart 2. GDP Per Capita at Purchasing Power Parity in Spain; European Union = 100.

Inflation Rate

CPI, MoM (Dec 2016)CPI, YoY (Dec 2016)CPI, Year Average (2016)
0.5 %  (Nov 2016: 0.2 %)1.4 %  (Nov 2016: 0.5 %)-0.3 %  (2015: -0.6 %)

According to Eurostat, inflation rate in Spain in 2016 expressed as annual percentages of average consumer prices was -0.3% which was below the Euro Area average (0.2%) and below the European Union average (0.3%). Inflation rates in 2017 - 2021 are IMF's estimates.

Inflation Rate in Spain. Chart 3. Inflation Rate in Spain. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate (2015)
22.1 %  (2014: 24.5 %)

Government Bond Yield

Government Bond Yield (Dec 2016)
1.44 %  (Nov 2016: 1.43 %)

Credit Ratings (as of Sep 2016)

Fitch Moody's S&P
BBB+ (good credit quality), outlook stable Baa2 (lower medium grade), outlook stable BBB+ (lower medium grade)

Withholding Tax

Withholding taxes are imposed at source of income and are often applied to dividends, interest, royalties, rent and similar payments. The rates of withholding tax are often reduced by double taxation agreements.

Withholding Tax Rates in Spain: 0.0 - 21.0%

Withholding tax rates applied on payments of interest and dividends in Spain are shown in Table 1.

Dividends Interest
Natural person, resident 21.0 %21.0 %
Natural person, non-resident 21.0 %0.0 %
Table 1. Withholding tax rates in Spain.

Double Taxation Agreements

Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) is an agreement between two or more countries for the avoidance of double taxation.

DTAs of Spain: 93 Signed Agreements

Spain signed DTAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 01 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):

 Argentina (Dec 2013)
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Costa Rica
 Cyprus (May 2014)
 Czech Republic
 El Salvador
 Hong Kong
 Iran, Islamic Republic of
 Korea, Republic of
 Kuwait (Jul 2013)
 Moldova, Republic of
 New Zealand
 Russian Federation
 Saudi Arabia
 South Africa
 Trinidad and Tobago
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom (Jun 2014)
 United States

There are also several agreements between Spain and other jurisdictions which were signed but haven't yet come into force (for agreements signed after after 01 January 2013 of signing the agreement is given in brackets):

 Dominican Republic
 Uzbekistan (Jul 2013)

Information Exchange

There are 3 ways for jusrisdictions to exchange information on tax matters:

  • spontaneously;
  • on request;
  • automatically.

Spontaneous exchange of information is provision of information that is forseeably relevant to another party without a request being previously sent.

Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) enable exchange of information on request relating to a specific tax investigation, either criminal or civil.

Automatic information exchange allows jurisdictions to exchange information automatically, without having a specific tax investigation.

Exchange on Request: 9 Signed Agreements

Spain signed TIEAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 01 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):

 Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
 San Marino
 Sint Maarten (Dutch part)

Automatic Exchange: Starts in September 2017

Spain signed the automatic information exchange agreement on 29 October 2014 and committed to start the automatic information exchange in September 2017.

Further Information


Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which became law in the United States in March 2010, focuses on reporting made by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The FATCA-reporting is facilitated by Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs).

FATCA Status in Spain
IGA in effect since 14 May 2013, Model 1

Spain has FATCA agreement with the U.S. in effect since 14 May 2013 (Intergovernmental Agreement Model 1). Financial institutions operating in Spain are required to identify U.S. taxpayers by January 1, 2017 and to report the information for 2017 and the subsequent years. The agreement is reciprocal: Spanish financial accounts hold in U.S. financial institutions will be reported to Spanish authorities.

Further Information

Financial Market Development

Financial Market Development
4.0 (max 7.0), 71st out of 138 countries
Banks' Soundness
4.7 (max 7.0), 73rd out of 138 countries

According to World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, financial market development in Spain is scored 4.0 out of maximum 7.0 and ranked 71st out of 138 analysed economies. Soundness of banks is scored 4.7 bringing Spain into the 73rd place, trustworthiness and confidence of financial market is scored 4.2 (70th place).

Financial Market Development in Spain. Chart 4. Financial Market Development in Spain. Source: WEF.

Deposit Guarantee Scheme

Maximum Protected Amount
100 000 EUR

Deposit Guarantee Schemes compensate certain deposits held by depositors of a bank that becomes unable to meet its obligations.

From a depositor's point of view it is important to know:

  • if the depositor is eligible within the terms of the deposit guarantee scheme;
  • if the depositor's bank is a participant in the deposit guarantee scheme;
  • if the depositor's type of deposit is covered by the deposit guarantee scheme.

All these details about deposit guarantee scheme in Spain are summarised in Table 2.

Scheme Participantsall credit institutions operating in Spain, branches of non-EU banks, branches of Spanish banks abroad
Scheme Exemptionsbranches of EU-banks (covered by their home countries)
Eligible Depositorsnatural persons, legal entities
Covered Accountscredit balances on accounts, nominative deposit certificates constituted in the EU
Covered Currenciesall
Maximum Protected Amount100 000 EUR
Paid In CurrencyEUR

Table 2. Deposit guarantee scheme in Spain.

Further Information

Country Ceiling for Deposits

Moody's country ceilings for deposits specify the highest rating that can be assigned to local- or foreign- currency denominated deposit obligations of a bank or other deposit taking institution domiciled within that country.

Local Currency (Euro) Foreign Currency
Aa2 (high grade) Aa2 (high grade)

Local currency (Euro) deposit ceiling for Spain is set to Aa2 (high grade), foreign currency deposit ceiling is Aa2 (high grade).

Deposit Rates

Average Deposit Rate (Feb 2017, EUR)
0.08 % (unchanged)
In Feb 2017, an agreed annualised deposit rate in local currency (Euro) of new contracts with agreed maturity up to 1 year between credit institutions and households was 0.08% which was below the Euro Area average (0.43%).
Deposit Rates in Spain. Chart 5. Deposit Rates in Spain. Source: ECB.

Further Information

Banking Sector Structure

Number of Banks
Consolidated Assets (2015)
3 664.41 bln EUR  (+2.47%)
Recent Changes (2016)
new banks: 2, closed banks: 11

Currently there are 261 credit institutions operating in Spain.

Recent structural changes (2013 - 2016) of the banking sector of Spain are summarised in Table 3.

Number of Opened Banks2642
Number of Closed Banks11211311

Table 3. Recent structural changes in the banking sector of Spain.

The list of the most recently opened banks in Spain is provided in Table 4.

NameStart Date
 RBC Europe Limited. S.E (new)July 2016
 Unicredit. S.P.A. S.E (new)January 2016
 ABN AMRO BANK N.V.. S.E (new)December 2015
 CM-CIC Bail. S.E. (new)September 2015
 Banca Farmafactoring. SPA Suc en España (new)May 2015
 China Construction Bank (Europe). S.A.. S.E (new)March 2015
 Mirabaud & CIE (Europe), S.A., S.E. (new)December 2014
 Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd., S.E. (new)December 2014
 A&G Banca Privada, S.A. (new)July 2014
 Banca Popolare Etica Sociedad Cooperativa Per Aziones, S.E. (new)July 2014

Table 4. The most recently opened banks in Spain.

All the credit institutions operating in Spain can be classified into several categories. Table 5 summarises the number of banks in each category.

CategoryNumber of Banks
Branches of foreign banks88
Central banks1

Table 5. Number of banks by category in Spain.

There are 88 branches of foreign banks from 15 different countries in Spain. Table 6 shows 10 countries having the biggest number of branches in Spain.

Country of OriginNumber of Branches
 United Kingdom10

Table 6. Number of branches of foreign banks in Spain grouped by country of origin.

Current Accounts

Minimal Annual Costs 0.00 EUR
Maximum Annual Costs 80.00 EUR
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Savings Accounts

Minimal Interest Rate 0.05 % 1 months (EUR)
Maximum Interest Rate 2.02 % 1 months (EUR)
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Time Deposit Accounts

Minimal Interest Rate 0.02 % 1 months (EUR)
Maximum Interest Rate 4.00 % 6 months (EUR)
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Credit Cards

Minimal Annual Costs 0.00 EUR
Maximum Annual Costs 70.00 EUR
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Consumer Loans

Minimal Effective Rate 7.88 % 1 months (EUR)
Maximum Effective Rate 24.51 % 12 months (EUR)
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Car Loans

Minimal Effective Rate 7.88 % 1 months (EUR)
Maximum Effective Rate 24.51 % 12 months (EUR)
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Trading Accounts

Minimal Annual Costs 10.00 EUR
Mamimum Annual Costs 160.00 EUR
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