La Caixa, Spain’s third-largest banking
group reported recurring net profits of €1.71bn ($2.34bn) in fiscal
2009, down 16.7% from the previous year.

Net interest income rose by 12.1% to €3.93m
while strict management of costs restricted expenses growth to 1%;
the cost-income ratio fell by 2.3%age points to 42.9%.

In the fourth quarter, the bank’s
non-performing loans ratio fell by 11 basis points from the third
quarter to 3.42%, ahead of the sector average of 5.05%.

La Caixa ended the year with a cards sector
market share of 17.7% while 15.1% and 12.8% of Spanish salaries and
pensions respectively, were credited to la Caixa accounts.

Marketing successes in 2009 included the bank’s
Nómina multiEstrella campaign which resulted in an additional
423,000 salaries being paid directly into la Caixa accounts.

While la Caixa’s Spanish branch network of
5,326 units is the largest in the country (compared with Santander
and BBVA with around 4,800 and 3,375 Spain-based outlets
respectively), la Caixa’s direct banking channels continue to punch
above their weight.

More than 6m customers use the bank’s Línea
Abierta online channel, equating to a 30.1% market share of Spanish
online banking while its 1.4m cellphone banking customer base
represents a 52% market share of m-banking.

La Caixa, has earmarked €500m for social and
community projects in 2010, more than one-quarter of its fiscal
2009 net earnings. The donation is in line with la Caixa’s
2007-2010 strategic plan for community projects, designed to
consolidate and increase the savings bank’s commitment to social
causes. La Caixa’s charitable wing is Spain’s leading private
foundation, the third-largest in Europe and the seventh-biggest in
the world in terms of budget.

Projects supporting the elderly, immigrants
and families in poverty have all benefited from the bank’s social
programme, while the foundation also backs initiatives to protect
the environment and promote Spanish culture.