Governance, human capital and politicization of Spanish banks

M. García-Cestona, M. Sagarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Before the 2007 financial crisis, Spanish savings banks (Cajas) and commercial banks had shared, almost equally, the Spanish market for years. By 2012, the stakeholder-oriented Cajas had disappeared. We study if these different outcomes of Cajas and commercial banks respond to different ownership structures, governance practices and top managers’ human capital. Most of the previous debate has focused on the political affiliation of Cajas’ managers. We contribute to the debate by using broader measures of banks’ performance and by manually collecting chairman’s human capital (through proxies such as chairman’s experience, education, and political affiliation) for both bank types. We find that commercial banks took more risks in pre-crisis years and showed better risk-management than Cajas during the crisis. We find no evidence of the influence of chairman’s political affiliation on banks’ performance, but chairman’s firm experience and certain levels of education did have an impact on banks’ performance, showing that managers’ human capital deserves more attention. Finally, we analyse deeper Cajas-stakeholders’ participation, and while the presence of politicised seats in the governing bodies have no significant effects, larger employee participation or depositors’ involvement could have helped to improve the resilience of these stakeholder organisations during the crisis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRevista Espanola de Financiacion y Contabilidad
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022


  • Corporate governance
  • Spanish banks
  • financial crisis
  • financial risk
  • human capital


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