BBVA says bad loans steadying, earnings flat

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BBVA, Spain's second largest bank, said on Wednesday its first quarter net earnings were virtually unchanged from a year earlier as bad debt charges also remained flat.

It said its three months to March net profit was 1.24 billion euros (1.64 billion dollars) while net banking income -- the difference between interest charged and interest paid out to depositors -- gained 3.5 percent to 3.39 billion euros.

BBVA, struggling like its Spanish peers to cope with a deep recession and the collapse of the construction industry, said bad debt levels were steady at 4.3 percent of total loans, the same as at the end of 2009.

In first quarter 2009, bad debts were equal to 2.8 percent of total loans.

© 2010 AFP

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