In 2016, the Spanish economy consolidated its recovery and recorded substantial growth, for the third year running. However, the financial sector still faces a number of ongoing difficulties, such as continuing exceptionally low interest rates and more pronounced and prolonged than expected deleveraging by families and companies.
CaixaBank’s excellent performance stands out against this backdrop: we have enhanced our commercial leadership; our results have continued their solid recovery; and we have continued to run down our non-performing assets.
In terms of commercial activity, the 12.2% increase in insurance and assets under management is noteworthy, as is the changing trend in our performing loans (+0.4%), in a sector that is continuing to contract. This has enabled us to continue winning market share for our main products and services: 130 basis points for savings insurance and assets under management, 39 points for non-life insurance, 19 points for lending and 107 points for direct deposit of salaries.
This progress demonstrates the capacity of our business model to meet the increasing needs of our customers across all segments. Supported by our technology, we have continued developing our capacity to interact with our customers. We now have more than 5.3 million digital customers, with most of these having intensive multi-channel relationships. In 2016, we launched a range of specialist services in the mobile channel, such as our pioneering ImaginBank.
Our results performed positively for the fourth consecutive year. The robustness of our revenues, with significant contributions from income and asset management, combined with containing costs and reducing provisions, took profit attributable to the Group to €1,047 million, 28.6% higher than in 2015.
Our intensive management activity has achieved a major reduction of 14% in non-performing loans and foreclosed assets. CaixaBank also continues to enjoy excellent liquidity, of more than €50,400 million, and solvency levels, with a fully loaded CET1 ratio of 12.4% at year-end 2016.
In 2016, we launched a takeover bid for the Portuguese bank BPI. This was successfully completed in February 2017. We have had a close relationship with BPI for more than 20 years, as major shareholders. We are firmly convinced that this is the start of a project that will be very profitable for both entities.
We are therefore going into the second half of our 2015-2018 Strategic Plan in a robust commercial and financial position, fully confident that we will meet all of our objectives. The main areas of action include continuing to improve our quality of service, fostering the development of our people and continuing to lead the digital transformation of the industry. The combination of these will help us achieve attractive returns for our shareholders, contributing, among other things, to the essential social work of our shareholder, the
”la Caixa” Banking Foundation.