Fully operational since 1989, the Banco Bilbao-Vizcaya (BBV) was created in 1988 by the agreement to merge the Banco de Bilbao and the Banco de Vizcaya, two of the "big seven" banks, the former dating from 1857 and the latter from 1901. The merger occurred shortly after the shareholders of Banesto, led by the now disgraced Mario Conde, had defeated a takeover bid by the Banco de Bilbao. The largest Spanish bank by assets until the Banco de Santander's takeover of Banesto in 1994, BBV still has the highest volume of clients" funds. At the end of 1995 it had over 2,800 branches, 34,000 employees and shareholders" funds amounting to 632,120m pesetas. Like the Banco Central Hispano, BBV has an important stake in Spanish companies through portfolio holdings, in part derived from Banco de Bilbao's traditional participation in Basque industry. It also has a large number of subsidiaries in financial services, insurance and property, as well as a variety of investment companies. It is the leader in private pension funds in Spain and is currently involved in the pensions market in Mexico through its Mexican subsidiary Probursa. BBV has also become active in the foreign banking sector, acquiring majority shareholdings in major banks in Peru and Mexico.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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