Portugal’s Montepio bank goes to elections today

 In Banks

One of Portugal’s oldest banks and one of only two to remain in Portuguese hands, is to hold elections for its board today (Friday 7 December) in what will be the most controversial and hotly contested board elections in recent years.

Montepio Geral (AMMG), a mutual savings organisation, which was established in 1840 with headquarters in Lisbon, has 620,000 shareholders and assets worth 34Bn.

The contested leadership is between three bankers: António Tomás Correia who has led the bank for 10 years, Fernando Ribeiro Mendes and António Godinho who all have a different vision of where the bank should go in the medium to long-term future.

Only 390,000 shareholding members can actually vote in the elections being held today. There are two ways of voting: by post and ballot box. The various boards — board of directors, financial board and general assembly will be chosen according to the votes.

Ribeiro Mendes wants to slash board salaries, improve the model of governance and create a social observatory. Tomás Correia wants to transform and modernise the AMMG, create a strategy committee, and attract a million members. António Godinho wants AMMG accounts to be audited and a new salary scale for the entire group. He also wants a members’ watchdog and complaints body to be set up.

Complaints over inflated salaries and illicit transfers of funds could result in the current chairman Tomás Correia being fined between €50,000 and €5 million by the Bank of Portugal. The alleged infraction was detected by an inspection undertaken by Deloitte.