Consumer lending continued to increase in Spain at levels of more than 10%, although this was well below the historic maximums seen in 2006-2007, i.e. just before the economic and financial crisis occurred.
In this context, Bankinter Consumer Finance experienced new developments in all its lines of business, recognising gross investment of €1,843 million, which represents 28% growth compared to 2017 and record pretax earnings of €103.4 million.
To achieve these results, the commercial work and experience of the bank in risk management was essential; this represents one of the fundamental pillars at the company for its profitable growth.
All areas of the company have grown significantly, both the loan consumption business and cards for the bank's customers, for whom new added-value online services have been created, such as Automatic Smart Purchase or Limit Management, and the business for the open market with important new alliances.
In addition to the strong results, 2018 was the year of internationalisation at the company. The business took root in Portugal, where consumer lending came to €148 million, bankintercard was launched and an agreement was signed to roll out another cobranded card on the market in cooperation with Mapfre. Furthermore, we secured a foothold in Ireland with the acquisition of Avantcard, as part of the transaction that saw Bankinter assume control over Evo Banco. From an operational perspective, one of the main developments in the past year was the adaptation to the new Data Protection Regulation, which forced the Bank to change a number of internal and customer-facing procedures. Furthermore, we amended products such as car loans, which now constitutes an exclusively online model, the profitability of which is greater.
Bankinter Consumer Finance started 2019 as a multinational company with a presence in three countries: Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Its challenges for the year are: continue with product diversification; strengthen its position on financing markets in point of sale; continue growing in terms of personal and car loans; and intensify its commitment to digital products and processes.
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