Spanish banks reserve money for real-estate losses

Three of Spain’s largest banks have released details of their plans to comply with government regulations to provide provisions to cover real-estate losses.

Last week, Banco Santander announced that they had set aside €1.8 billion to cover losses on repossessed homes and they now plan to add a further €2.3 billion to this reserve.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) say they will set aside €1.4 billion, which will be added to money it had already reserved before the government regulations were announced.

BBVA made it clear that its good results in 2011 meant it would be able to “entirely absorb” losses in 2012 using this money.

Caixabank also stated it is looking for an extra €2.4 billion to set aside to cover its real estate assets and losses.

Manuel Gonzalez Cid, financial director at BBVA, told Reuters that “These are the strongest banks in the Spanish financial sector so it’s not surprising they can manage the [requirements] through generic provisions or by bringing forward other capital buffers.”

As well as downgrading Spain’s sovereign debt rating this week Moody’s also downgraded Catalunya Banc and Bankia’s debt and deposit ratings over concerns that they are unlikely to meet the requirements for covering real estate losses as laid out by the government.