Juanma Moreno speaking on Tuesday. / EUROPA PRESS

The president of the Junta claims that Unicaja bank is emptying its head office in Malaga

Juanma Moreno is calling on the government to decide whether Braulio Medel is a suitable person to continue as the head of the Foundation

Héctor Barbotta
HÉCTOR BARBOTTA

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, claimed on Tuesday that the headquarters of Unicaja Banco in Malaga are being emptied out and called on the government to announce whether the president of the Foundation, Braulio Medel, was suitable to continue in the post. “I don’t know what they are waiting for,” he said.

Moreno said he would use all the institutional mechanisms the regional government can access to stop the contents of the Unicaja HQ in Malaga being removed. He says he knows this is happening because work units in Malaga and in Ronda are being vacated. “We are not prepared to tolerate this,” he warned when asked about the situation of Unicaja, which is the biggest bank in Andalucía and the fifth most important in Spain.

Eight months of turbulence

The Andalusian president said that Unicaja Banco has been through eight months of turbulence, and that is seriously damaging its reputation. He explained that the Junta does not have the power to decide whether or not Medel is suitable for the post, which is why the government needs to do it.

However, he did say the Andalusian government was going to be “terribly belligerent” about any measures taken by Unicaja which, he pointed out, had been formed originally by the merger of several savings banks in Andalucía. He warned that the Junta would consider any decision to continue emptying the head office or to move out of the region “an attack on Andalucía”.

Redundancies and bank branch closures

On Thursday the Andalusian parliament will debate a motion by the Unidas Podemos por Andalucía party to ask the government to decide on Medel’s suitability as president of Fundación Unicaja and for the current representative of the Junta at the Foundation, Antonio Jesús López Nieto to be replaced by someone “who represents and defends the interests of Andalucía”.

Also put to the vote will be a motion for the Junta to take firm action to prevent Unicaja staff being made redundant, bank branches closed and financial services discontinued in villages and districts. None of the main parties have indicated how they plan to vote on the issue.