Letter from the Chairman
Our bank has once again demonstrated its dedication and commitment to everyone who places their trust in us - shareholders, customers, employees and society in general.
After more than 110 years, CaixaBank remains committed to a customer-service model based on a value proposition that really sets it apart, and proximity, quality of service and a total and unswerving commitment to innovation. We work to develop long-term relationships with our customers, advising them thoroughly and transparently, through our highly skilled and committed team.
This explains why more and more people and companies are choosing us. Almost 27% of the Spanish population has chosen CaixaBank as its main bank, one percentage point higher than in 2016. And this leadership extends to the digital world. We have made strenuous efforts to ensure that we have the best omni-channel offering. As a result, more than half of our customers are digital. Through the acquisition of the Portuguese bank BPI, we are also leading financial entity in Spain and Portugal as a whole.
This commercial strength is enabling the entity to take advantage of the current economic recovery to deliver outstanding results, while maintaining the Group’s financial robustness and prudent risk management at all times. The Group’s profitability has continued to increase, averaging 8.4% over 2017 as a whole, approaching our strategic objective of profitability of 9%-11% in 2018.
These excellent results are also reflected in our share price, which outperformed the main indexes in 2017, rising by almost 25%. Other successes in the year included the acquisition of BPI and completion of the deconsolidation of CaixaBank and CriteriaCaixa, which simplifies the Group’s structure in the eyes of the supervisor and the market.
We are aware of our responsibilities to our customers, employees and shareholders. For this reason, in October the board of directors decided unanimously to relocate our registered office to Valencia, to guarantee legal and regulatory certainty, which is indispensable in banking. We have adapted to changing political, social and economic circumstances throughout our history. But we have always remained faithful to our values and our commitment to all of the communities where we operate, and we always will.
This commitment is also reflected in our ethical and responsible management of our banking business, and our contribution to the development and wellbeing of society. I would like to highlight the close collaboration between CaixaBank and the Welfare Projects of the ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation’s. The Foundation’s budget has increased to almost €520 million for 2018 - the highest ever - funded in large part by dividends from its shareholding in CaixaBank.
CaixaBank puts its extensive branch network and knowledge of the local area and needs at the service of the “la Caixa” Foundation, enabling the Foundation’s activities to reach the areas where they are most needed. And 5,500 CaixaBank employees take part in the volunteering programme the bank undertakes with the Foundation. The bank complements this work with other social initiatives, such as promoting financial inclusion and help with housing. In 2017 we celebrated the tenth anniversary of MicroBank. It has granted more than €4,000 million in microcredits to many families and small businesses, making it the largest microfinance bank in Europe. Its activities have created 180,000 jobs, against the backdrop of the economic and financial crisis.
CaixaBank is committed to continuing to create value for everyone who puts their trust in us and our unique approach to banking. We are ready to take on new challenges and continue projecting our values of prudence, excellence and growth into the future.