LISBON (Reuters) - Portuguese lender Millennium bcp (BCP.LS) reported a 5% rise in nine-month net profit on Thursday, helped by record client numbers and a sharp drop in non-performing assets.
Millennium reduced exposure to non-performing assets and loans, which have plagued Portuguese banks since the 2010-14 financial crisis, by 27% to 4.6 billion euros ($5.1 billion), with impairments and provisions for bad loans dropping 11.2% to 299 million euros.
Its performing credit portfolio rose by 4.5%, or 1.4 billion euros, with strong corporate lending accounting for almost half of the growth as the country’s economy continued to strengthen.
“Despite the challenging ECB monetary policy, the truth is these are the best nine-month results we’ve had in the past 12 years,” CEO Miguel Maya told a news briefing, referring to pressure from record low interest rates set by the European Central Bank.
Net profit came in at 270 million euros as Portugal’s biggest listed bank lifted net interest income (NII) by 9.5% year on year to 1.15 billion euros.
“The increase in net interest income was the fruit of growing activity with our clients,” Maya said. “The evolution prospects are positive supported by a stronger client base and normalisation of the cost of risk.”
Maya added that client numbers, in Portugal and abroad, rose 5% to nearly 5.1 million, supported by new technology platforms for digital and mobile customers. Those customers now account for nearly 40% of the total client base.
Millennium also operates in Poland, Angola and Mozambique.
Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by David Goodman