Santander profit hit by new Spanish property provisions
Santander is the eurozone’s biggest bank
26 April 2012 Last updated at 11:11
Profits at the Spanish banking giant Santander have been hit again after the company set aside money to cover property loan losses in Spain.
First quarter net profit was down 24% at 1.6bn euros ($2.12bn; £1.31bn).
It set aside 3bn euros in provisions, partly to cover rising loan defaults in its home country.
The UK profit before tax was £347m, down about 40% on the same period a year ago.
It said more than 400,000 new UK accounts were opened in the first three months of the year, 9% more than for the same period last year.
Lending to small and medium-sized UK businesses was 21% higher. Gross mortgage lending to UK households rose 34% to £5.6bn, and the bank said it was providing almost 15% of the country’s mortgages.
Santander’s home country’s property market is one of the worst-hit in Europe after a the Spanish property boom unravelled during the banking crisis.
A rising number of Spanish householders and businesses are defaulting on their debts.
But Santander, which is the eurozone’s biggest bank, increasingly relies on its presence in emerging markets, particularly Brazil.
Brazil contributed 27% of the bank’s profit during the quarter, compared with 12% from Spain.