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“Bankia has helped to improve Spain’s image”

Banking group earned 648 million euros up to September

Bankia director general José Sevilla at Monday's results presentation. Ampliar foto
Bankia director general José Sevilla at Monday's results presentation. EFE

The BFA-Bankia group recorded post-tax profits of 648 million euros in the first nine months of the year — a result that does not include the effect of an exchange of hybrid instruments for capital.

The result, achieved after a 22.424-billion-euro injection of public funds, contrasts with the over 10 billion in losses registered over the same period a year earlier, after provisioning 10.1 billion for defaults.

Nevertheless, all its income statement margins remain in the negative, among other reasons because of the closure of 929 offices. "I think we are the only bank in Europe that has closed a third of its network in a year," said Bankia number two José Sevilla. Twenty-five percent of the lender's margin came from the purchase of portfolios of public debt at high rates with cheap financing from the European Central Bank.

Sevilla admitted to being happy because "we have finished the third trimester of the restructuring plan, which is set to last 12. If you accept the basketball comparison, we are at the end of the first quarter and all is going well."

If you accept the basketball comparison, we are at the end of the first quarter and all is going well"

Sevilla also admitted to being lucky over the fact that since August, investors' perceptions about Spain had "radically changed, which has allowed us to speed up the sell-off plans agreed with Europe and achieve more gains than predicted."

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that Bankia's bankruptcy in May 2012 was what almost drove Spain to require a full-blown bailout. Now, Sevilla highlighted, the opposite effect had been produced: "I think Bankia's good progress has helped improve the image of the Spanish financial sector and in consequence that of Spain, and also of Europe's periphery countries."

Including the positive effect of the exchange of preferred and subordinate shares, the group's results would go up to 1.496 billion euros, the lender said.