Bank profits rise but lending remains weak

Both BBVA and Caixabank enjoy higher earnings last year

BBVA, Spain's second biggest lender, on Friday reported an increase in its net profit for last year of 32.9 percent to 2.228 billion euros.

The bank said the "complex situation" in Spain caused earnings from its domestic market to fall 49.8 percent to 583 million euros, while a write-down in the value of its holding in Citic after selling a 5-percent stake in the Chinese bank also undermined profits. However, these factors were more than offset by a 12.4-percent increase in earnings in Eurasia to 454 million euros, mainly as a result of the good performance of its Turkish affiliate Garanti.

The group's non-performing loan ratio at the end of the year stood at 4.6 percent, but for Spain alone rose to 6.4 percent. Loans fell 4.7 percent.

With the domestic economy emerging from a long recession, BBVA was upbeat about its future prospects. "The outlook for 2014 has improved significantly and at BBVA, we are in an excellent position to respond to the growth of the solvent demand for credit," chairman Francisco González said.

Meanwhile, CaixaBank reported a 119-percent rise in its net profit for 2013 to 503 million euros in the wake of its absorption of Banca Cívica and Banco de Valencia. The result was achieved despite a fall in credit of 7.1 percent

The bank made a gain of 255 million euros from the sale of 51 percent of its real estate division.

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