The following are the most important figures for earnings in the quarter:

  • Positive performance of the most recurring revenue (net interest income plus fee income):
    • Net interest income was €1,113m, a similar figure to the same period in 2011. This positive evolution is due to good management of spreads in a context of lower activity and low interest rates. Particularly notable was the maintenance of yield on loans and the cost of liabilities. The latter is the result of the ECB liquidity auctions and the ongoing consolidation of the financial system.
    • It was a good quarter for income from fees and commissions, which rose 4.1% year-on-year to €406m, particularly the recovery of C&IB revenue.
  • In other revenue there was a notable fall in NTI, which compares with an exceptionally high first quarter of 2011, a positive performance by the insurance business, and increased allocations to the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD).
  • As a result, gross income stood at €1,633m, down 7.4% year-on-year but up 12.8% over the quarter. This is significant, given that the current economic situation is very similar to that at the end of last year.
  • Operating expenses remained under control, with a year-on-year fall of 1.6% and an efficiency ratio of 42.1% at the end of March, an improvement on the figure of 44.0% in 2011.
  • Operating income was €946m, down 11.2% year-on-year but up 27.4% quarter-on-quarter.
  • Because the environment remains very difficult, a significant effort was made in the quarter in loan-loss provisions. Impairment losses on financial assets increased by 45.4% year-on-year.
  • Despite this, the area generated a net attributable profit in the first quarter of 2012 of €229m, higher than that obtained in the fourth quarter of 2011.