The recently nationalized Spanish bank Bankia is offering prizes, including Spiderman towels to young investors in an effort to hold onto deposits, according to Reuters.
Young people can qualify for the prizes if they manage to save 300 euros ($380) by the end of the month. For every 50 euros saved, young depositors can have their name entered into a drawing for a trip to New York.
The gimmick intends to counter a push by Bankia’s competitors, like ING Direct, to nab depositors from Bankia after local media outlets reported that Bankia customers pulled out 1 billion euros in the aftermath of the government takeover.
The Spanish government took over the nation’s fourth largest bank as it struggled to recover from a real estate crash and prolonged recession. Bankia has asked for 19 billion euros in capital, in addition to the 4.5 billion they received in the government takeover.
The European debt crisis continues to hinder efforts to shore up the Spanish banking system as analysts begin to see Spain as a bigger problem than Greece.
“It may go down to the wire, it may get very bad,” a senior diplomat in Spain said told Reuters. “But Germany has to choose. With Greece it did not have to choose. It could allow Greece to fail. But if Spain fails, Europe fails. So in the end we have to believe that Merkel and the Taliban of the Bundesbank (German central bank) will change their minds and do what they need to do to save Europe.”
Some analysts doubt that Germany has the motivation to risk significant capital to bail out Spain.
“They think here that Spain is a very important country and a crucial part of Europe,” said a long-time Madrid bank adviser. “But they forget that for the Germans, Spain is a minor country next to Greece and Italy.”
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