Santander profits hit by bad debt rules

  • 28 October 2010
  • From the section Business
Santander branch
Image caption Santander's profits have fallen because of strict new rules on bad debt provisions

Santander, the Spanish bank that owns a number of UK banks, has reported a fall in profits after being hit by new rules on bad loan provisions.

Profits for the three months to September fell 13% to 2.1bn euros ($2.9bn, £1.8bn).

The bank warned that profits for the full year would be below forecasts.

Santander, the eurozone's biggest bank, has been rebranding its UK banks, which include Alliance and Leicester, Abbey and Bradford & Bingley.

Also, it recently bought some 300 former Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

Higher provisions

For the first nine-months of the year, its results statement showed profits were 6.08bn euros, down 9.8% from last year.

Provisions for bad debts for the nine months were 472m euros - 72m euros more than the bank estimated at the end of July.

The higher provisions reflect new rules introduced by the Bank of Spain, which has cut the time needed to fully provide for the estimated loss on non-performing loans.

It also requires a further 10% write-down on the value of properties held for more than two years.

As a percentage of total loans at group level, bad debts rose to 3.42%, from 3.37% at the end of June.

"The bank has opted to apply the new Bank of Spain rules in a very conservative way and not to release provisions," the bank said in a statement.

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