Are Spanish banks' growth strategies hiding problems at home?

Spanish banks BBVA and Santandar looking risky
Spanish banks BBVA and Santandar looking risky

Just as speculation about the health of the banking system in the U.S. seems to be quieting down, there's reason to believe that foreign banks -- particularly two Spanish institutions -- are about to go under the microscope, even as the pair snaps up assets in foreign countries.

Banco Santander (STD) and Banco Bilbao (BBV), with a combined market capitalization of $200 billion, must deal with double-digit unemployment in Spain and a bursting property bubble that threatens to wipe out shareholders, according to a research report from Variant Perception (via FT Alphaville). These two are also working on integrating disparate acquisitions.