Banks increase profitability and capital and improve efficiency in 2023

In 2023, the banking sector became fatter. According to the Bank of Portugal, profits increased due to interest income, and as a result profitability grew, capital was strengthened and the efficiency ratio also improved.

Banking profitability “continued its growth trajectory with return on equity (ROE) standing at 14.8 % in annual terms”, 6.14 percentage points more than in 2022, says the Bank of Portugal in its quarterly analysis of the Portuguese banking system.

This growth reflects the increase in net interest income (the difference between interest paid by customers and interest paid by banks) due to the increase in interest rates by the European Central Bank (ECB) to curb inflation.

Return on assets (ROA) also improved, standing at 1.28% (up 0.59 percentage points).

Although slight, the cost of credit risk increased by 0.16 percentage points to 0.45%, due to the strengthening of credit impairments by the banks.

In the note from the supervisor led by Mário Centeno, for banks as a whole, it is also stated that the cost-to-income ratio (dividing operating expenses by operating income to obtain the cost benefit) improved, falling 13.7% compared to 2022 and standing at 36.9%. The increase in operating income contributed to this, as did the improvement in net interest income.

According to the Bank of Portugal’s note, asset quality also improved. The non-performing loans (NPL) ratio fell 0.2 percentage points to 2.7%, an evolution that reflects not only “the reduction in NPLs” but also “the increase in productive (risk-free) loans”.

In this context, the gross NPL ratio for companies stood at 5% (down 0.8 percentage points), due to the reduction in NPL. In the private segment, the gross NPL ratio remained at 2.4%.

In terms of capital, both the total own funds ratio and the Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio increased by 0.7% to 19.6% and 17.1% respectively.

The average risk weight also improved, decreasing by 0.6% to 42.7%, due to the importance of the lower risk components in assets.

Original Story: Expresso | Author: Isabel Vicente | Data: 27.03.2024
Edition and translation: Prime Yield