The bank made profits of €1.66bn (£1.33bn) in the first three quarters of 2012, down 47.6 per cent on the same period of 2011.
Much of that fall came from a €1.6bn writedown of real estate loans in the third quarter. Writedowns are expected to increase moderately into next year.
But the bank kept expanding this year in other areas.
Headcount increased 6.2 per cent on the year to 117,475, while the number of branches rose 8.6 per cent to 8,072. Gross customer lending increased seven per cent, and deposits rose 2.4 per cent.
Internationally the business also performed well. Eurasian profits increased 13 per cent to €813m in the first nine months, Mexican profits rose 3.9 per cent to €1.3bn and South American profits soared 35.4 per cent to €1.49bn.
The bank’s shares rose 1.82 per cent on the day.