2021 was marked by a recovery in economic activity after a particularly difficult year caused by the pandemic.
The measures put in place by public authorities prevented the damage caused by the economic shutdown from becoming structural. Together with the country's excellent vaccination figures, these measures mitigated the effects of the virus and are behind the recovery of the economy, which was reflected in strong employment figures at the end of the year.
Banks once again demonstrated their importance for recovering economies, facilitating the delivery of assistance and providing financial support for companies and families. As a result, after a difficult year for the business in which entities had to redouble their efforts and bolster their balance sheets in anticipation of future impacts, 2021 saw an improvement in activity and profits in the sector.
Against this backdrop, in its latest stress tests, the European Banking Authority recognised Bankinter as the most robust, solvent and resilient bank in Spain, placing it third in Europe. Underpinned by these strong foundations, the bank has maintained an active commercial strategy, promoting its lines of business to generate higher income to offset the absence of Línea Directa Aseguradora, which left the bank's perimeter at the end of April, following a successful deal that generated positive remuneration for shareholders after distribution of the issue premium.
Bankinter has boosted its activity in the various segments for individual customers, particularly those with higher net worth, with significant growth in the balance sheets of Private Banking and Personal Banking, and in businesses such as mortgages and Asset Management, especially investment funds. The bank has also strengthened its digital investment offering with the launch of Bankinter Capital Advisor, the first 100% online advisory service. This is aimed at investors who want to invest in funds and build and modify their own portfolios, while receiving recommendations based on their profiles.
The bank has a strong position in the alternative investment business through Bankinter Investment, with the launch of new vehicles and the successful sale of the Helia I renewable energy fund being highlights in the year.
In the Corporate segment, the bank has built on its trusted position by supporting companies in applications for and processing of European support, facilitating their international activity and optimising management with small- and medium-sized enterprises, through a new relationship model adapted to the circumstances and characteristics of each customer.
This strategy of meeting the requirements of each customer, launching new products and services and promoting sales is reflected in the strong figures for recurring business and in the entity's profit, which are detailed in full below.