Improved capitalisation and stronger growth in recent years are standing Spanish banks in good stead, as The Banker’s Top 1000 reveals. 

The Spanish economy's buoyant performance over the past few years has been good news for the country’s banking sector. Most lenders have capitalised on new growth opportunities, particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises, while boosting their capital positions and enhancing the quality of their balance sheets.

Though this relatively positive picture is likely to come to an abrupt end as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s banks are in much better shape in 2020 than they were at the beginning of the previous decade. The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking 2020, and in particular the data on the country’s best performing banks, make this clear. 

Kutxabank emerges triumphant to scoop first position in the best-performing table, with a score of 6.67 out of a possible 10, largely due to the lender’s asset quality, soundness and leverage metrics, the best among the featured banks. The bank also takes third position based on its profitability and return on risk scores. Conversely, in the growth stakes Kutxabank is the eighth best-performing lender. 

Grupo Cooperativo Cajamar is second in the overall best-performing ranking, with a score of 5.60. It is particularly strong in terms of operational efficiency, where it secured first place, and also for liquidity, where it is second best-performing institution. Meanwhile, the country’s third best-performing bank, Bankinter, is first for profitability and return on risk. 

Spain’s three largest lenders by Tier 1 capital – Santander, BBVA and CaixaBank – secure sixth, seventh and eighth positions in the best-performing banks ranking, respectively. Notably, BBVA places second based on its soundness and leverage metrics, while Banco Santander achieves second place in the operational efficiency stakes and CaixaBank takes third position based on its asset quality.

Yet there were also areas where these banks perform less positively relative to their best performing peers. This includes profitability, where Banco Santader, BBVA and CaixaBank are fifth, sixth and ninth respectively. 

Meanwhile, Abanca Corporacion Bancaria, which is ninth in the overall best-performing ranking, enjoys a table-topping performance in terms of its growth and a second place for asset quality. 

The fortunes of Spanish banks have shifted markedly in recent times, and efforts to clean up their balance sheets and augment their capital positions mean they are now in a better position to deal with the economic uncertainties of a rapidly changing domestic and regional operating landscape.


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