“We need a Catalan bank that believes in the possibilities of its own country”
Jordi Roset is co-owner of the Petrolis Independents fuel chain, a Petro7 franchise and, in turn, a brand of the Petrolis Roset S.L. petrol station group. An investor in 11Onze, the businessman has set up low-cost petrol stations in different regions of Catalonia and allocates part of the profits to projects in favour of Catalan independence. Jordi is from Terrassa and is committed to the future of the country and the need for a banking structure of his own to support it.
Why have you decided to invest in 11Onze?
The main reason is that, due to past circumstances, Catalonia does not have any fully Catalan banks. After the independence process in 2017, the largest banks with a long history decided to move out their headquarters from Catalonia as a result of political and state pressure. In my opinion, this does not say much about a bank that is truly committed to our country; it cannot be that at the drop of a hat they decide to abandon everything and leave. It is precisely here where the need to have a 100% Catalan bank that also believes in the possibilities of its country.
What can 11Onze bring to the individual citizen and to businesses investing in the entity?
Security. The confidence that 11Onze will not freeze accounts as other Spanish banks might do because there is a sense of country behind each customer. If we look abroad, other European countries such as France, Holland, Germany and Denmark already have banks that identify them. If only the Generalitat would be encouraged to create a central bank, but at the very least, and in the meantime, we need a central private bank. That is why I have invested in 11Onze, because I want to have a 100% Catalan bank that also works in favour of our country.
And what are the advantages for citizens and businesses of working for a bank like 11Onze?
The main advantage is that 11Onze does not have the vices and defects that other larger banks with a longer track record have. 11Onze is starting from scratch, without the dubious past that other banks carry with them, and this is important to bear in mind, especially for the younger generations who want fresh, digitalised companies. On the other hand, it will also have a more traditional side for generations like mine who miss going to a physical branch, talking to the manager, etc. It will also be a bank as it was in the old days.
What do you expect from 11Onze from an investment point of view?
Obviously, as an entrepreneur, my goal is to get a return on investment and to feel that I am not throwing money away. But my commitment to 11Onze is not as much as for a monetary return than it is for a country’s return. To have a Catalan bank that grows and becomes more powerful every day. In fact, I believe that the best thing we Catalans can do is to invest in our country. One way of doing this is to invest in our own banking structure.
Do you think that as a country we have enough potential to build a competitive banking system?
There are countries with fewer inhabitants than Catalonia that are wealthy states and have national banks. If we were independent we could be on a par with countries like Finland, Australia or Denmark, and this is demonstrated by the Catalan GDP. I believe that 11Onze can recover this historic role of confidence in the country’s original banking system. There are other banks that have tried, but I have not seen the same seriousness with which they work in this bank.
Would you invite more people to join the 11Onze community?
Yes, it is true that when you have a business and you invest there is always a risk, but I assume it like all entrepreneurs. I feel that with 11Onze they will have more responsibility and empathy with their customers, as it is a closer entity, unlike larger banks where it is difficult to feel like a human being and not a number. If I have invested money, it is because I trust that they will not speculate with my income.
What strengths would you highlight about Jordi Roset as an entrepreneur?
Before entering the world of oil companies, I had a textile company where more than 80 people worked and which I had to close. One thing I learned from this experience was to reinvent myself in the face of defeat and the frustration of leaving a business behind. I think this strength is deeply rooted in the history of our country and the mentality of the people who live in it: fall, get up, start again stronger and emerging victorious. That is what our country is like.