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BANK

Spanish bank BBVA says quarterly profits triple

Spain's second-biggest bank by market value BBVA said on Wednesday its profits tripled in the third quarter despite falling over the first nine months of this year after exceptional gains in 2013.

Spanish bank BBVA says quarterly profits triple
BBVA's net profit for the July to September period surged to €601 million ($765 million) from €195 million a year earlier thanks to an increase in business. DANI POZO / AFP

Net profit for the July to September period surged to €601 million ($765 million) from €195 million a year earlier thanks to an increase in business, BBVA said in a statement.

Over the first nine months of this year, profits fell to €1.8 billion, 37 per cent lower than a year earlier when its profits had been boosted by one-off "capital gains on the sale of non-strategic assets".

The bank said it saw a "nascent recovery" in demand for loans in Spain, which is timidly recovering from a financial crisis which drove its banking sector to seek a bailout.

This timid recovery "has not managed to turn around the average total balance" but the bank did get a boost from the growth of business in the United States, Turkey, Mexico and South America.

BBVA reduced the ratio of bad loan debts weighing on its balance sheet – a hangover from the 2008 real estate collapse that plunged Spain into economic crisis — to 6.1 per cent in September.

The results came after two other big Spanish finance groups, Bankia and Caixabank, last week reported rising profits in an encouraging sign for the sector two years after it nearly collapsed.

Authorities said on Sunday that the 15 Spanish banks targeted by the European Central Bank's stability tests had taken the necessary steps to strengthen their capital base.

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BANKING

Spain’s BBVA bank poised to axe 3,800 jobs and close 530 branches

Spain's second-largest bank BBVA is looking to shed 3,800 jobs, affecting 16 percent of its staff, a union said Thursday while denouncing the plans as "scandalous".

Spain's BBVA bank poised to axe 3,800 jobs and close 530 branches
Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

The move came just two days after another hefty cut in banking jobs was announced by rival CaixaBank, which said it was planning to axe 8,300 staff.

“BBVA wants to lay off 3,800 people. These redundancies would affect 16 percent of the workforce, 3,000 in the branch network and another 800 in the bank’s central services,” the CCOO Workers’ Union said in a statement.

It said the bank was planning to shut down 530 of its branches, denouncing the dismissal plan as “indefensible and scandalous” and warning it would stage a protest.

It was the latest bank to announce layoff plans as the sector struggles to cope with record-low interest rates and an economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, along with a surge in popularity of online banking services.

In mid-November, BBVA announced it was locked in talks about a possible merger with smaller rival Banco Sabadell in a tie-up that would have created a top player within Spain’s banking sector.

But just weeks later the plans were scrapped.

There has been a wave of consolidation within the sector which has been encouraged by Spain’s central bank, with Caixabank completing a massive merger with its smaller rival Bankia last month.

On Tuesday, Caixabank confirmed it would shed nearly one in five jobs, affecting 8,291 staff, in cutbacks which were necessary as a result of the “overlaps and synergies derived from the merger and the current market circumstances,” it said.

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