Banks plan move from Catalonia amid independence strife

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Executives at Banco Sabadell have agreed to relocate the bank’s base outside Spain’s troubled Catalonia region, reports said.

Banco Sabadell’s registration will be moved to the eastern city of Alicante, but the physical headquarters will remain in the Catalan regional capital, Barcelona, according to the Spanish private news agency Europa Press.

Catalonia is currently at odds with Spain over the issue of the region's sovereignty

Catalonia is currently at odds with Spain over the issue of the region's sovereignty

Banco Sabadell is one of Catalonia’s largest banks and Spain’s fifth in terms of volume of assets.

READ MORE: Spain’s top court halts Catalan parliament’s independence meeting

Citing Sabadell sources, Europa Press said the reason for the move was to protect the interests of the banks’ customers and ensure legal protection under the umbrella of the European Central Bank as Catalonia’s mull an independence declaration.

The bank’s shares, which have seen heavy losses in recent days, surged more than 6% at the end of trading on Thursday.

Spain’s third largest bank in terms of volume of assets is considering a relocation of its registration outside of Catalonia but says nothing has been decided yet.

Barcelona-based Caixabank “reiterates that the necessary decisions will be taken, in due course, always with the objective of protecting the interests of our customers, shareholders and employees at all times”.

A bank spokesman, who could not be named under company policy, said that according to internal rules, the bank’s board would need permission from its shareholders.