Some banks took advantage of their clients’ trust to sell them products that were not appropriate for their profile. The shares clients were sold were complex and high-risk instruments because the capital invested could easily be lost. Nevertheless, they were offered by credit institutions, mainly savings banks, as an alternative to normal deposits without informing consumers of their risks. Customers, who were typically pensioners, were convinced that the preference shares were a safe investment option capable of yielding up to 8%. The shares were allegedly marketed by branch managers with little understanding in the complex equity products.
In the case of Bankia there was a trial legal arbitration process. The Provincial Court of Madrid ruled in favour of the affected consumers. On 24 June 2016, Bankia’s appeal was dismissed, confirming the sentence of the Madrid court from 30 June 2015 where the contracts were declared null.