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Banking sector will have to turn over loan data

Minister wants to ensure businesses are getting necessary start-up money

Economy Minister Elena Salgado said on Thursday that she will soon ask the banking industry to file information with the government concerning the number of loans it has granted to start-up businesses.

Salgado said that all banks and savings lenders (cajas) will be required to give the government data on the number and amount of loans issued and the sector of industry to which they were granted. "This is so we can decide if we need to take more action in the financial system to guarantee that the loans are going to Spanish entrepreneurs," she said during an economy forum sponsored by the business newspaper Cinco Días.

"Because it is impossible to know which companies are receiving the loans, we will ask [banks] to inform us on the total amount of money that has been granted, since the size of the loan pretty much tells us the size of the company."

As opposed to other countries where governments have had to rescue the banks, Salgado said that in Spain commissions and interest from loans so far granted have contributed 2.5 billion euros to the Treasury.

On another issue, the minister said it was "a priority" for the government to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.