MADRID Oct 4 A possible merger between Spain's
state-owned lenders Bankia and Banco Mare Nostrum
(BMN) would involve "concentrating" both their operations to
lower costs, Bankia's CEO said on Tuesday.
Spain's bank rescue fund said last week it would look into a
merger of Bankia, Spain's fourth largest lender, and the smaller
BMN, which would potentially create a new entity with total
assets of over 240 billion euros ($269 billion).
"A process of concentration is logical, above all to generate
more value in an environment of low interest rates, and in this
search for greater efficiency and cost synergies," CEO Jose
Sevilla told a banking conference in Madrid.
Other Spanish lenders such as Santander and
Caixabank have said in recent months they would cut
branches to lower costs as their profits are squeezed. Banco
Popular said in September it would cut a fifth of its employees
in a cost-saving plan.
(Reporting by Angus Berwick and Amanda Calvo; Editing by Paul