Peer Review of Spain
Spain underwent an FSAP in 2006, in which the IMF assessment team concluded that "Spain's financial sector is vibrant, resilient, highly competitive, and well-supervised and regulated." The main challenges in the areas of financial regulation and supervision were related to the need to address the risks posed by rapid credit growth, especially in the housing sector; address the risks associated with banks' large equity investments in nonfinancial firms; enhance the regulation, supervision and governance of savings banks (cajas); and improve inter-agency coordination and supervisory autonomy. The FSAP also identified steps to further strengthen insurance supervision and securities settlement systems. The Spanish financial system weathered the initial brunt of the financial crisis relatively well compared to other advanced countries, primarily due to a strong regulatory stance and sound supervision, as well as an efficient, retail-oriented bank business model. The strong regulatory framework was effective in cushioning the financial system, thereby allowing the authorities and financial institutions more time to plan appropriate responses. The successful use of dynamic provisions during the crisis to cover the credit losses that built up in bank loan portfolios is particularly relevant given ongoing discussions at the international level about moving towards an expected loan loss provisioning regime.