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Portuguese State bank stems losses by 50%

Portuguese State bank stems losses by 50%

LISBON: State-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), the largest bank in the Portuguese financial system, registered a negative net loss of €171.5 million in 2015, down from the €348 million loss in 2014, the bank reported.

“I would like to highlight the significant improvement both in domestic and in international activities. This recovery does not yet provide for the presentation of consolidated positive results but we are very close to that,” CGD President José de Matos told the press conference convened to announce the results.

“We have a bank that is rapidly recovering its profitability, has good liquidity and operational sustainability,” de Matos continued before stressing that without exceptional measures such as the sale of the bank’s insurance arm in 2014 and the Horizonte early retirement plan, that positive progress “stands at €519.6 million.”

The pre-tax and pre-minority interest results amounted to a €21.3 million loss, an improvement of €212.2 million on 2014 whilst gross operational revenues put on 58.6% to total €649.7 million “reflecting the important contributions of national commercial banking and international activities,” said the CGD President.

This comes against the background of the ongoing restructuring of the Portuguese financial sector with 2015 having seen the banks shrink their staffing total by 872 employees over the year.

CGD closed the year with a total of 8,410 members of staff in Portugal, down 448 on 2014, with the majority of job losses resulting from an early retirement programme.

BCP, Portugal’s largest private bank, contributed the second largest chunk of financial sector redundancies having cut its staff by 336 employees to close 2015 with 7,459 employees in the national sector.

CGD also closed 22 branches in 2015 to retain a 764 strong network whilst BCP shut down 24 branches to now run a 671 branch chain.

In turn, the banks BPI and Santander Totta shed 63 and 25 members of staff, respectively with the latter not taking into account the consequences of its end of 2015 purchase of Banif.