Oct. 24 - Santander, the euro zone's biggest bank, has posted a 77 percent jump in nine-month profit as it put less money aside to cover losses in its Spanish home market, though a weak economy depressed income from lending. Hayley Platt reports.
77 percent is today's daily digit in Europe - that's the increase in Santander's third-quarter profit. The euro zone's biggest bank reported a net profit of 3.3 billion euros, largely thanks to a fall in bad debt provisions. And Santander aren't alone. Profits at the country's fifth biggest bank, Sabadell more than doubled, beating expectations. And Bankinter also saw an increase for the same period. It gives a flavor of how Spanish banks and the economy are slowly recovering from two years of recession. They've been struggling ever since the 2008 credit crisis hit, bursting the country's property bubble. It's now beginning to see a gradual improvement. GDP rose 0.1 percent and the latest unemployment figures also improved, thanks to a boost from summer tourists. But economic conditions for households and small companies remain tough and credit remains tight. Experts predict at least another 18 months of slow growth. The government says its austerity measures and economic reforms are paying off.