The bank itself reassured clients in a statement sent to Spain's stock market supervisor. The new chairman, José Ignacío Goirigolzarri, said: "Bankia's clients can be absolutely calm about the security of the savings they have deposited."
Bankia said operations at its branches had "been within normal parameters" during a fortnight of what it called "a highly seasonal nature". It also predicted that "the level of deposits will not suffer any major changes over the coming days".
That was little consolation to 400,000 Spanish investors who were last year persuaded to buy shares in the new bank, which was created by the amalgamation of seven savings banks. The shares have lost 70% of their value since the flotation in the summer.
"It was a shotgun marriage," the head of Madrid's regional government, Esperanza Aguirre, complained, blaming the central bank. The new shareholders have seen their investments slide for 10 straight days and some analysts saw the sell-off as an attempt to cut losses rather than a reaction to rumors of a run on the bank.
Prime minister Mariano Rajoy continues to insist that Spain must pursue austerity; on Wednesday, he called on Europe to take measures, too, warning that Spain risked being frozen out of capital markets as its bond yields crept ever higher, raising the interest rates it must pay on debt.
Spain's borrowing costs shot up further on Thursday with the country's treasury paying about 5% to attract buyers of three- and four-year bonds.
The government took over Bankia, which holds 10% of Spanish deposits, in an attempt to dispel concerns over toxic real estate assets left over from a 2008 property crash.
Spain's economy shrank by 0.3% in the first quarter, putting it back into recession and with a long downturn in prospect as the government cuts spending in an attempt to wrestle down its budget deficit. Unemployment is already nearing 25%, with half of the young without a job.
Anxiety about the euro zone spread to other banks, with shares in Barclays and the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group all down more than 3% on anxiety about their exposure to the single currency.
U.K. banks have cut their exposure to Greece to under £6 billion. Shares in the French bank BNP were down 4.1%, while Italy's Banca Popolare di Milano and Spain's Bankinter also fell more than 4%.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Giles Tremlett, writing for the Guardian from Madrid, Spain, in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/17/spain-denies-bankia-customers-rushing-to-withdraw