The embattled head of Spain's central bank has announced he will step down on June 10, one month before his term was set to expire.
Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordoñez had been due to serve as governor of the Banco de España until July 12, but he told Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy he would leave office ahead of schedule so his successor can take over on June 11, the deadline for banks to submit plans for meeting new loan-loss provision requirements.
"The prime minister understood that this decision favors a quick and efficient transition at the governor's post and will enable Banco de España to continue contributing its knowledge and professionalism toward solving the problems of our economy and its banking system," the central bank said Tuesday.
The announcement comes just days after recently nationalized BFA-Bankia, Spain's fourth-largest bank, said it needs an additional 19 billion euros ($23.72 billion) from the government to boost loss provisions.
Nationalized earlier this month, BFA-Bankia - which holds Spain's largest mortgage portfolio - is seeking what would be the largest bank bailout in Spanish history.
Appointed by Rajoy's predecessor, Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the 67-year-old Fernandez Ordoñez has been accused of lack of political independence, improvisation and, above all, an inability to foresee a devastating crisis in the banking sector.
Spain's banks have been hard hit by the collapse of the country's 1995-2007 real estate boom.
The 2008 global financial meltdown came as Spain was struggling with the bursting of the property bubble. The ensuing slump has led to numerous business failures and pushed the country's jobless rate above 24 percent.
Nearly half of Spaniards under 25 are jobless and tens of thousands of families have been evicted from their homes after falling behind on their mortgages.
Bankia and three other Spanish banks - Banco Civica, Banco Popular and Bankinter - saw their bonds downgraded by rating agency Standard and Poor's on Friday to junk status.
The Iberian nation's two leading financial institutions, Grupo Santander and BBVA, maintained their current ratings of A- and BBB+, respectively. EFE