Spanish Banks’ Results: The Numbers Tell The Story

Banco Santander key markets

Regardless of the disappointments, the one-off items, a few little surprises and all kinds of explanations regarding their earnings and provisions, the so-called big banks’ results are what they are.

And none of  them have anything to celebrate as they are all, in one degree or another, flying with lead in their wings. So the banks are vulnerable and unable to reach cruising speed.

In this difficult envirnonment, and still bruised from the crisis and the uncertainty international, the Spanish banks – Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia, Popular and Sabadell – earned 11.276 billion euros in 2015, an average 7.3% increase on 2014. This doesn’t mean much as Sabadell doubled its profits, up 90.6%, thanks to the integration of the UK’s TSB Banking Group.

Over and above the earnings growth percentages, which contain a multitude of variables, what really stands out is that Santander contributed 53% of the total earnings registered by the big six banks. That says a lot about the size of the Spanish banking sector.

BBVA came second place with 2.642 billion euros, Bankia with 1.040 billion, CaixaBank with 814 million euros, Sabadell with 708 million, Bankinter with 376 million and Popular with 105 million. As one analyst said, the results of some of the 7 smaller Spanish banks could still be incorporated to balance the scales.

If we now put the spotlight on the performance of the two biggest Spanish banks, going back to the beginning of the XXI century, we can see that Santander (BSCH) started off the century with consolidated earnings of over 1.575 billion euros, while those of BBVA (then called BBV) exceeded 1.230 billion. Today, the difference has multiplied by more than 2, which shows that the model of former Santander chairman Emilio Botin works a great deal better than that of (BBVA chairman) Francisco Gonzalez with its pie in the sky digitalizacion.


About the Author

Carlos Díaz Guell
Editor at and, Carlos began his career in financial journalism as founding member of El País. He's been communications director of Bank of Spain, member of the ECC at the European Central Bank, Institutional Relations director at Iberia and editor at La Economía 16 magazine.