Corporate banking, which specialises in business groups with an annual turnover of more than 50 million euros, once again faced a challenging environment last year. Low interest rates, surplus liquidity, the fall in the demand for credit and the gradual disintermediation of its financing continue to characterise this segment of the market.
Nevertheless, in 2017 Bankinter's loans and receivables in corporate banking grew by 2.4% and new lending rose by almost 30%. At 31 December, the volume of financing amounted to 11.455 billion euros and customer funds stood at 8.412 billion euros, with a net return on assets (net ROA) of 1.87%.
The reason behind this excellent performance stems from the specialisation strategy undertaken in 2015, which represents a significant change in the distribution model with regard to legal entities. Large companies can now be served at 22 corporate centres, three of which are dedicated to those companies that generate over 1 billion euros in annual income.
The 160 professionals that work at these centres are guided basically by sector-based criteria and by an appropriate balance between return and risk. In 2017 they contributed a total of 262 million euros to Bankinter's gross operating income and 209 million euros to pre-tax profit, thus making corporate banking the segment with the greatest weight in these two key items of the bank's income statement.
The 2018 objectives include the following: to improve return for customers; to acquire greater in-depth knowledge of the various sectors and their variants with regard to transactional and international business, capital markets and securities market; and to ensure greater adaptation to the organisational structure of the companies.
The Bank plans to open two new corporate centres in Madrid and hire highly specialised personnel.
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