Banco Sabadell, 140 years of history
Founded on the last day of 1881 as a cooperative and opening its doors to the public in February 1882, Banco Sabadell has a track record of 140 years spent advising and financially serving people and companies.
Reaching this milestone offers us an opportunity to look back at the journey we have made. The history of Banco Sabadell is the story of the launch of a small local bank at the end of the 19th century, which, over time, has grown into a multinational banking group with a set of corporate values that have defined its very way of being and carrying out its banking work.
Its trajectory has been exemplary and trailblazing in many respects. The bank has covered a long and fruitful path in which it has tackled important business, social, and economic challenges, which it has been able to overcome thanks to the vision, determination, pragmatism, and professionalism of its leaders over the years, as well as the work, effort, dedication, and commitment of all the people who have worked with it from day one, with the conviction and enthusiasm to build up a project that they have been able to make their own.
It was with this in mind that the BS140 exhibition was installed in the heart of what was once the first office building owned by the bank and now serves as its historical headquarters.
The key stages
1881 - 1939
Foundation and early years
In 1881, a group of businessmen from the city of Sabadell founded Banco de Sabadell with a capital of 10 million pesetas. The early years were characterised by the bank’s active role in the wool and coal mining trade, which it abandoned in the early 20th century to focus exclusively on financial services. The 1920s and 1930s were characterised by the economic crisis, political instability, and social conflicts, difficulties that the bank overcame thanks to the good governance that emerged from the crisis of confidence that the bank had experienced in 1926.
In the image on the left, the front cover of the bank’s Articles of Association in 1881. In the image on the right, the bank’s first share in 1889.
1940 - 1979
In the 1940s, the bank focused its activity on stabilising its situation and restoring normality after the Spanish Civil War. Years later, it was already enjoying a high degree of confidence. The country’s economic recovery had allowed it to grow in terms of operations and share capital until, in 1965, it opened its first office situated outside Sabadell, in Sant Cugat del Vallès. From then on, the bank’s branches spread to nearby towns and even into Barcelona. Shortly after that, it opened its first branch in Madrid, and at the end of the 1970s its first foreign branch, in London.
In the image on the left, Sant Cugat del Vallés branch in 1965, the first one opened outside Sabadell. In the image on the right, the bank’s principal branch in Sabadell in 1972.
1980 - 1995
From local bank to corporate group
The last two decades of the 20th century were characterised by two levers of transformation. On the one hand there was technology, with a strong commitment by the bank to consolidate the computerisation of its processes and implement the teleprocessing of data. On the other was its configuration as a business group through the creation of subsidiaries that could respond to the specialisation needs of an increasingly extensive and internationalised commercial network. In the 1990s, the corporate image was revamped and “Banco Sabadell” was born, without the preposition “de”, as a commercial brand.
In the 80s and 90s, Banco Sabadell made a technological leap in its processes.
1996 - 2007
The transition to a listed bank and the first acquisitions
In 1996, the bank’s first non-organic deal was formalised with the purchase of the NatWest España group. The new millennium began with the purchase of Banco Herrero and its flotation, which took place on 18 April 2001. In 2003, the purchase of Banco Atlántico was signed, which meant an increase in size that made Banco Sabadell one of the leading institutions in the Spanish market. In 2004, the bank’s shares were included in the IBEX 35 index. In 2006, Banco Urquijo was acquired, and in 2007, so was TransAtlantic Bank of Miami in the United States.
In the image on the left, the signing of the purchase of the Natwest España group in 1996. In the image on the right, Banco Sabadell enters the IBEX 35 in 2004.
2008 - 2021
The leap to universal and geographically diversified bank
Banco Sabadell positioned itself as a one of the buying entities in the process of bank concentration caused by the great financial crisis, which erupted in 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In Spain, it acquired Banco Guipuzcoano (2010), Banco CAM (2011), the branch network in Catalonia and Aragon of the former Caixa Penedès (2012), Banco Gallego, and the Spanish business of Lloyds (2013). In addition to this, the bank began an ambitious process of internationalisation, which materialised with the acquisition of the British bank TSB in 2015 and the creation of a bank in Mexico in 2016. The bank became one of the largest institutions in the Spanish financial system during these years, tripling its size, geographically diversifying its business, and increasing its customer base sixfold, all while safeguarding its solvency and liquidity. On 31 December 2021, Banco Sabadell celebrated its 140th anniversary, looking to the future with the same drive, enthusiasm, and ambition that it had possessed on 31 December 1881.
In the image on the left, the headquarters of CAM in Alicante, which was acquired in 2011. In the image on the right, the office of TSB, the British bank it purchased in 2015.