This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

1 Million Investors Lose It All: Spain

"The client trusts the brand, but the employee even more," Romero said. "But when you touch their money, people change radically. We've seen death threats, insults, people who come in with shotguns."

Romero heads a Bancaja union and he has seen an increase in the number of complaints from employees who feel they can't go out on the street because they are scared.

Spain's Confederation of Savings Banks declined to comment on gun incidents at bank branches and said all investors in the bank stock had to authorize purchases by signing contracts containing "brief and non-technical language" about the risks they were agreeing to take on. The confederation added in a statement that investments in "preferred stock" were sound when introduced but their value was hurt by market conditions and Spain's deteriorating economy.

Preferred stock entitles the holder to a fixed-rate dividend, paid before any payouts are distributed to holders of ordinary shares- common stock. Holders of such preferred stock also rank higher than ordinary shareholders in receiving proceeds from the liquidation of assets if a company goes into court protection.

Romero, like most of his colleagues, sold preferred stock in his bank and believed at the time that he was promoting a good product. They were first offered at the end of the 1990s at a time of economic boom and many people benefited from the returns. The problems started when people started signing up between 2007 and 2009, just as the bubble was bursting.

"There was a market that worked at the time and had good returns," he said. "But the crisis came suddenly and it all collapsed."

The country's financial crisis has already yielded many dark milestones, including 25 percent unemployment and home foreclosures on an unprecedented scale. Add to that the scandal of up to 1 million Spaniards whose money is frozen or have been lost after banks allegedly mis-sold them complicated financial products.

2 of 5

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
AAPL $130.28 0.00%
FB $81.53 0.00%
GOOG $565.06 0.00%
TSLA $218.42 0.00%
YHOO $44.52 0.00%


DOW 18,080.14 +21.45 0.12%
S&P 500 2,117.69 +4.76 0.23%
NASDAQ 5,092.0850 +36.0220 0.71%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs