Barclays is reported to be considering buying a regional savings bank in Spain.
Chief executive Bob Diamond met Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid last week.
The Sunday Times said Mr Diamond was seeking a guarantee that Barclays would not be responsible for any historic debts.
The Spanish government said the talks focused on the financial markets and the global and European economies.
Spain has a number of regional banks, called cajas. The BBC reports many are struggling with high bad debt levels after the collapse of Spain's property sector.
The bank Barclays is said to be looking at, has not been named.