Santander Posts Losses For The First Time

Spanish Big Banks Lose €5.55 Bn Due To The Coronavirus

Spanish banks.
Spanish banks.

Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia, Sabadell and Bankinter posted com­bined losses of 5.55 bi­llion euros last year, with their ac­counts badly da­maged by the co­ro­na­vi­rus, com­pared to the more than €13.5 bi­llion achieved in 2019, Europa Press re­por­ted.

These negative figures are mainly due to the great losses suffered by Santander, 8.77 billion, the first of its history, compared to the 6.51 billion it earned in 2019.

The rest of the banks ended the year with profits, which ranged from 2 million euros for Sabadell to 1.38 billion for CaixaBank, although almost all of them were affected by the pandemic and the deterioration of their subsidiaries abroad.

The big financial institutions have responded to the restrictions with substantial provisions, although they consider the worst to be over and have already asked the European Central Bank for its authorization to remunerate shareholders against 2020 profits, after the ECB’s veto in the midddle of the pandemic has been lifted.

Santander’s losses of 8,77 billion euros in 2020 came after increasing provisions for the covid-19 crisis and assuming an impairment of 12.6 billion in the value of its subsidiaries in the UK, the US and Poland.

For its part, BBVA earned 1.30 billion euros last year, which means 62.9% less, also due to the provisions to face the pandemic and the deterioration in the value of its US subsidiary, the sale of which has generated excess capital that it will use to resume dividends and reduce costs, for example in Spain.

CaixaBank, however, has withstood the coronavirus challenge and has earned 1.38 billion euros in the last financial year, down 19%, after provisioning 1.25 billion euros for the COVID-19. It also has managed to maintain the income derived from the banking business – interest income, commissions and insurance – with 8.31 billion euros (-0.1%), and has reduced the non-performing loan ratio by three tenths, to 3.3%.

Bankia finished 2020, its last year on its own before the merger with CaixaBank, with a profit of 230 million euros, 57.6 % less than in 2019, better than the market expected.

As for Sabadell, it achieved in 2020 a profit of 2 million euros, which represents 99.7% less than the 768 millions it achieved in 2019, due to provisions of 2,27 billion for the pandemic, staff adjustments and the sale of the last problematic portfolios coming from CAM.

Finally, Bankinter reduced its profit by 42 % to 317 million euros, due to higher allocations to deal with the pandemic. It will focus this year on the IPO of its insurance company, Línea Directa, and earn more than 500 million euros in 3 years.

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