Banco Popular saw first-half net profit decline by nearly 35 per cent to €442.6m (£382m) yesterday, but offered an optimistic assessment of bad loans growth. Chief financial officer Jacobo Gonzalez-Robatto said the bank did not expect non-performing loans to exceed between five and five per cent in 2009, after new bad loans fell by 41 per cent in the second quarter. The bank now holds €4.89bn worth of troubled loans. Provisions against loan losses reached €708m, €214m of which was reserved for to offset deteriorating property assets amid the Spanish property slump. Net interest revenue rose 13 per cent to €1.42bn.