Bankinter begins with the round of bank results for the first quarter of 2023. And the numbers continue in the same vein with which they closed last year: record. Earnings continue to rise, despite the difficult economic environment. The entity directed by María Dolores Dancausa earned 184.7 million up to March, 19.7% more than in the same period of the previous year, as reported this Thursday to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV). This is the best start to the year for the group. The increase is so important that it manages to dilute the payment of the extraordinary tax to the sector, which for Bankinter has been 77 million, which accounts for it in the first quarter.
The aggressive increases in interest rates by the European Central Bank (ECB) since last July are felt in the first three months of the year. “Margins grow at very high rates, boosted by the increase in rates, higher business volumes and a commercial activity more oriented towards investment products,” the entity highlights in its note. The interest margin shoots up 63.2% to 522 million. In net commissions there is also growth, but moderate: it closed March with 153 million, 4% more.
These last two figures are precisely the ones that the Government levies on banks for the extraordinary tax on the sector. In fact, Bankinter has already made the first part of the payment corresponding to the rate for the past year (it is recorded in this first quarter), a settlement that has been appealed in court. A battle that takes place in a year marked by elections, which has caused various clashes between the Executive and large companies in recent months.
The Government justified the tax for the extraordinary benefits of the sector after the abrupt rise in the price of money to combat inflation. A monetary change from the ECB that has left behind eight years of zero or negative rates, which means the return of recurring bank income. The financial sector does not share these reasons and was opposed from the beginning. The improvement of its figures will also take place gradually. That is, not all the fruits of the current interest rate level have yet been reaped, since the update of the mortgage loans that are linked to the Euribor is normally done once a year and there is still a part of the portfolio that is not has reviewed. Despite this, the Executive thinks that it is one of the winners of this crisis and it is up to him to pitch in.
On the expense side, the company’s operating costs have increased by 6%, up to 220 million. Thus, they grow considerably, but below the margin, which allows them to improve their numbers. The gross margin amounted to 616 million, 23% more than a year ago. While the return on equity (ROE) stood at 13.7% and efficiency took another qualitative leap and fell to 35.7% (in this metric, the lower the better).
Non-performing loans remain very low, at 2.18%, and the feared defaults have yet to surface. As a preventive measure, the Government and banks agreed at the end of 2022 to extend the Code of Good Practices to help mortgagees in trouble. A safety net that could accommodate up to a million families in debt, vulnerable or at risk of being so. A figure that seems too high: the Bank of Spain calculates that this social shield will be able to protect up to 550,000 households in the event that rates reach 4% (from the current 3.5%), from which they will effectively benefit about 200,000 homes, according to the latest Financial Stability Report.
In terms of capital, Bankinter’s solvency is still well above what the ECB requires (7.726%). Specifically, it closed the first quarter with a CET1 capital ratio fully loadedthe highest quality, 12.21%.
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