Rodrigo Rato has stepped down as Chairman of ailing Spanish lender, Bankia SA. The resignation helps to clear the way for a rescue plan that the government hopes will persuade international investors of the country’s financial stability.
Although the state has yet to comment, analysts expect the rescue plan would inject up to 10 billion euros into Bankia, which is saddled with toxic real estate assets. The move would mean raising the Spain’s public debt level, as the country’s already spent 18 billion euros cleaning up its financial sector.
The potential bailout of Spain’s ailing banking sector comes on the heels of Francois Hollande’s presidential victory in France, and the growing popularity of Greece’s anti-austerity and anti-bailout parties. Many in Spain are hopeful these represent a general shift in European economic policies. As one Spanish citizen says:
“I hope this is the beginning of a real change for everybody. They have to realize that what they have done is useless.”