THREE Spanish banks reported strong growth in profits in the first half of the year yesterday, as new official data showed joblessness down for the first time in two years.
Any economic improvement should help banks, which were hit hard by the recession, as households fell behind on paying their mortgages after the property boom.
Bankia reported post-tax profits of €192m (£165.6m) in the first half of the year – below expectations but a huge improvement on losses of a record €19.2bn in 2012.
Meanwhile smaller lender Bankinter saw profits soar to €102.3m, up from €22.6m in the same period of 2012.
And Banco Sabadell saw profits rise by a more modest, but still strong, 37 per cent to €123.4m. But it booked enormous bad loan provisions – this half coming in at €1.07bn for the six-month period.
Bankia’s shares rose 3.82 per cent on the day, while Bankinter’s increased 2.65 per cent and Sabadell’s went up 1.08 per cent.
Meanwhile unemployment fell unexpectedly from 27.2 per cent to 26.3 per cent.